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Avalanche warning issued for Chugach Mountains

Posted: January 10, 2013 - 9:48pm

JUNEAU (AP) — U.S. Sen. Mark Begich says there’s no question in his mind that drilling in the Arctic will continue to move forward.

During a conference call with reporters on Thursday, Begich was asked about the floating drill rig that recently ran aground in Alaska. The vessel Kulluk drilled last year in the Beaufort Sea and was bound for Seattle for upgrades and maintenance when it ran into trouble.

Begich said critics might use the incident in their arguments against drilling in the Arctic. But he cast this as a transportation and shipping issue — not a drilling issue. He said there are still questions to be answered, but he sees this as a learning experience and said he considers the debate over drilling in the Arctic over.

ANCHORAGE (AP) — Skiers and snowmachiners entering the backcountry are being warned about the danger of avalanches.

The Anchorage Daily News ( says the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center issued an avalanche advisory Wednesday. Center director Kevin Wright says conditions are right for an avalanche because of stormy weather that was followed by sunshine.

He says more than 10 feet of new snow has fallen in the mountains over the past two weeks. Large natural and human-triggered avalanches have been reported over the last week.

ANCHORAGE (AP) — A 56-year-old Anchorage man has died after his car ran into a grocery store early Thursday morning.

Anchorage police say Peniata Tauinaola was pronounced dead at a hospital following the 1:50 a.m. low-speed crash at the Carrs/Safeway at the Northway Mall.

Police say in a release that drugs and alcohol don’t appear to be factors.

His SUV had been going between 5 to 10 mph through the mall parking lot, and it appeared he was attempting to park in front of the store. But police say the SUV never stopped, sideswiped a parked car, went across the sidewalk and hit the building. He was found unconscious but with no visible injuries.

Damage to both vehicles was light, and police say there’s no monetary damage to the store.

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