Anchorage police say driver in fatal Seward Highway crash was intoxicated: Anchorage police have determined the head-on collision that killed 29-year-old Whittier resident Salafai Iosefa in March was the result of drunk driving. The Anchorage Police Department Traffic Unit found Iosefa had over twice the legal limit of alcohol in her system when the crash occurred, police said in a release Tuesday. Police say shortly after 7 p.m. on March 18, Iosefa was driving southbound in the northbound lane of the Seward Highway near Potter Marsh when an Alaska Industrial Trucking tanker collided with her vehicle. The driver of the tanker truck, 61-year-old Fairbanks resident Ronald Guettinger, reportedly attempted to avoid the crash but was unsuccessful. Tests determined Guettinger was sober at the time of the crash, according to police, and the truck's video system captured the wreck on video. The Anchorage District Attorney's office decided criminal charges against Guettinger were not warranted. The police department will be participating in the nationwide campaign "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" by focusing on drunk driving enforcement from Aug. 13 to Sept. 1.
New UA scholarship program intends to lure students 'home': The University of Alaska system is piloting a program that will allow out-of-state residents with family ties in Alaska to pay the same tuition as in-state students starting this fall. The "Come Home to Alaska" program waives a nonresident surcharge for prospective students who can prove they have parents or grandparents currently living in Alaska. The savings are substantial: About $13,000 for 30 undergraduate credits per year, according to a statement from the university. "The idea is to incentivize potential students with ties to Alaska who are living outside the state to come back home," said Saichi Oba, the University of Alaska's vice president for student and enrollment services. The "Come Home to Alaska" program will start in fall of 2014, the statement said.
Delta man charged with DUI after vehicle found stopped in middle of the road: A 20-year-old Delta man was arrested after Alaska State Troopers found him passed out in a running vehicle stopped in the middle of the road, according to trooper dispatches. Troopers were patrolling Mil-Tan Road, near Nistler Road, when they saw a white truck stopped in the middle of the road and blocking traffic. Aleksandr Glushko, 20, was passed out in the driver's seat with the engine running, according to the dispatch. Glushko's license had been revoked for a DUI earlier in 2014, and he was required to have an Ignition Interlock Device on the vehicle. Troopers write that Glushko was intoxicated. He was arrested and taken to the Fairbanks Correctional Center.
Coast Guard icebreaker plans get skeptical audience in Congress: How important is the Arctic to the U.S. Coast Guard? Some Republican lawmakers expressed their doubts in a House subcommittee meeting last week, reports naval publication Seapower Magazine. The remarks came as the lawmakers considered appropriating funds for research into building a new icebreaker. The U.S. currently has three polar icebreakers, two of which are active, the magazine reported. "Chairman Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., said a lot of people within the Coast Guard are talking about the high priority of the Arctic, but no one is allotting any money toward it," Seapower reported. "Hunter also said several times throughout the hearing that this could be the last one he schedules on the Arctic because he does not believe the Coast Guard wants an icebreaker." Alaska's lone representative, Republican Don Young, asked the Coast Guard to consider leasing an icebreaker, since the current Congress was unlikely to appropriate funds to build one, according to the report.
At ICC, policies to protect environment get attention: Concerns about environmental issues took center stage at last week's Inuit Circumpolar Council general assembly in Inuvik, Northwest Territories, reports the CBC. As interest in developing resources -- especially mining and oil and gas -- in the Arctic increases, planning for problems has taken on increasing importance to Inuit communities, the report noted: "Many delegates say they support the economic benefits of resource development, but worry because the North lacks proper infrastructure and would not be able to respond quickly to disasters, such as an oil spill."
Another search for the Franklin expedition: More than 150 years after their disappearance, two British ships that sailed into the Arctic are the subjects of yet another search. The Erebus and Terror, which under Sir John Franklin sailed into the Arctic on an exploration mission in 1848 and never returned. The doomed Franklin expedition inspired numerous searches in the century and a half that followed, and now, another search is underway, as the Ottawa Citizen reports. Part of the impetus behind the new search is new technology, an underwater drone, which a top Canadian Geographical Society executive compared to the machines used in the search for the black boxes of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370. Another underlines Canada's current role in international Arctic politics: "[T]he repeated expeditions to find Franklin (and later to find those lost searching for him) are part of the foundation of Canada's claims to Arctic sovereignty," the Citizen notes.