AK Beat: Troopers nab driver accused of playing cop

Alaska Dispatch News

Anchorage man uses phony badge to avoid traffic: An Anchorage man was arrested Saturday for allegedly flashing a phony law enforcement badge so he could avoid traffic while speeding down the Old Glenn Highway, Alaska State Troopers write. Troopers responded to a report at 11:45 a.m. Saturday of a man driving recklessly at mile 17 of the highway while holding up a badge to motorists. Troopers said they found that Kenneth Depoy, 23, was flashing what appeared to be a law enforcement badge at passing vehicles so they would yield to him. Driving a gold Chevy pickup, Depoy was driving in excess of 80 miles per hour, weaving in and out of traffic, and tailgating other vehicles. He was arrested for reckless driving impersonating a public servant in the second degree. He was taken to the Mat-Su Pretrial facility and held on $1,000 bail, according to troopers.

Fifty National Guardsmen return from Guantanamo Bay: Fifty Alaska Army National Guard personnel are scheduled to return Saturday after a nine-month deployment to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, according to a press release sent out by the Alaska National Guard. The guardsmen with the 761st Military Battalion were deployed to Cuba last November in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, the operation launched following attacks on the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001. Returning soldiers spent two weeks in Fort Bliss, Texas, before heading home.

Fairbanks rain makes the record books: The Interior community of Fairbanks has survived the wettest summer in recorded history, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports. A brief shower on Friday pushed Fairbanks to a total of 11.62 inches for the months of June, July and August, surpassing the 1930 record of 11.59 inches. Local rain records reach back to 1906.

Safety rules being developed for Arctic vessels: Progress is being made by the International Maritime Organization on a “Polar Code” that will establish new safety and environment-protecting rules for vessel operations in the circumpolar Arctic, as well as the Antarctic, U.S. Coast Guard officials said at a meeting Friday in Anchorage. The IMO is expected in November to adopt a series of Polar Code safety rules that were approved in May and would be put into force at the beginning of 2017, said Capt. John Mauger, chief of the Coast Guard’s Office of Design and Engineering Standards. Action on polar environmental rules, though lagging somewhat, is expected to come in October, when the IMO will take consider approving a set of environmental standards, including a total ban on discharge of oil or oily wastes in Arctic waters. The IMO, a United Nations organization, has more than 170 members, so reaching consensus can take time, Mauger said. But once that happens, the results are well-supported, he said. “When you do anything with a standard, you have a standard that 170-some countries can agree to,” he said.

Alaska exemplifies rural medicine crisis: Rural areas in the United States are having an increasingly difficult time attracting enough medical personnel, and if Alaska isn’t the only place suffering that lack, it provides an especially potent example of the some of the extremes suffered by communities with limited access to physicians and medical facilities. Perhaps that’s why it’s the setting for an Atlantic article exploring the problem, which takes the state -- which is says would need to add 60 doctors a year to stay caught up -- as a setting for an article on the problem. “There are about 6,000 federally designated areas with a shortage of primary care doctors in the U.S., and 4,000 with a shortage of dentists,” The Atlantic reports. “Rural areas have about 68 primary care doctors per 100,000 people, compared with 84 in urban centers. Put another way, about a fifth of Americans live in rural areas, but barely a tenth of physicians practice there.”