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AK Beat: Troopers seek Delta cemetery vandals

Alaska Dispatch News

Delta cemetery vandalized: Alaska State Troopers are looking for a vehicle that drove through the Rest Haven Cemetery in the Interior community of Delta early Sunday morning, causing some $5,000 in damage, troopers write. Sometime between midnight and 6 a.m. Sunday morning, a vehicle drove through a fence into the cemetery, then smashing into and destroying a wooden A-frame gazebo structure. The vehicle then drove over several headstones before driving through the fence again and out of the cemetery. Troopers are asking Delta residents to be on the lookout for a maroon Ford, either an F-150 or Expedition, from 1997-2003. The vehicle will have substantial damage to the front bumper and grill area, and has “Light Force” auxiliary lights mounted on the bumper that may be damaged or missing, troopers write. The vehicle also has a black bug deflector that will have around 8 inches of the deflector missing on the driver’s side. Anyone with information is asked to call Alaska State Troopers at (907) 895-4800.

Oil spill prospects, lack of data worry potential Arctic shipping insurers: As insurers weigh the risks and benefits of working with shipping companies in the new routes opening up in Arctic waters, the specter of an oil spill tops the list of worries, one such insurance company, Marsh, told Hellenic Shipping News. “According to Marsh, the main worry for insurers is the risk of pollution as oil reacts differently in cold temperatures, with the effectiveness of chemical dispersants greatly reduced,” the industry site reported. “At the same time, as this is such an underdeveloped area of shipping, there is a severe shortage of crews with the experience to operate in such cold and dark environments.” More generally, companies like Marsh are wary of the absence of historical data that might allow them to evaluate the risks of underwriting shipping in the Arctic. “The number of commercial ships going through the northern sea (route) is not giving enough data to satisfy underwriters at the moment,”Marcus Baker, chairman of Marsh’s Global Marine Practice, told the site.

Woman rescued from Flattop: A 70-year-old woman was medevaced off Flattop Mountain Trail Tuesday afternoon, according to Alaska State Troopers. Troopers received a call at 3:21 p.m. that Linda McCleerey had injured her ankle near the top of the popular Anchorage hiking trail and was unable to hike back down. LifeMed Alaska responded by helicopter, and McCleerey was taken to Providence Hospital.

Montana’s grayling not endangered: Arctic grayling, a common and frequently targeted sport fish in Alaska, is rare in the Lower 48. But not rare enough to warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act, at least in the upper Missouri River, where such a measure had been under consideration, according to An Associated Press report. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials said that “[h]abitat quality, numbers of fish and genetic diversity are stable and increasing for most Arctic grayling populations in Montana” thanks to longstanding conservation work in the watershed, the report said.

When you can drive to the Arctic Ocean: When it’s completed, a new road connecting the Northwest Territories community of Tuktoyaktuk to the rest of the North American highway system will be the only road open to the public that allows you to drive to the Arctic Ocean, according to a CBC report. (The Dalton Highway, more commonly known to Alaskans as the haul road, stops vehicles short of the ocean, as the report points out.) While that might launch a tourism boom for Tuktoyatuk -- “Where else in Canada, literally can you get in your car in Vancouver and end up at the Arctic Ocean?” one person asked -- it has other northern Canadian towns worried that it will suck tourists away from other Northern destinations, such as Inuvik.