Winter in Unalaska by Sam Zmolek
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Stories from the KUCB Newsroom from the Aleutian Region, the Pribilof Islands, the Alaska Peninsula, and beyond.

  • A group of researchers wanted to see if hydrogen fuel cells could replace petroleum in trans-Pacific shipping. What they found places Unalaska and Adak right in the center of a "green corridor."
  • Travelers can now book mid-November flights on Aleutian Airways between Anchorage and Unalaska, according to a statement released by the airline Monday morning. Prospective passengers can make reservations online through the company’s website or via local travel agents.
  • The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Kimball calls Honolulu home, but recently it’s seen a lot of action in the Aleutians. Just last month while on a routine patrol, the vessel encountered a group of Russian and Chinese warships traveling together through the Bering Sea. The Kimball’s commander, Capt. Thomas D’Arcy, recalled the encounter during a port call in Unalaska last weekend.D’Arcy didn’t comment on the strategic implications of the foreign warships the Kimball encountered last month. But he said the cutter is staged for just about anything and will continue monitoring the area for foreign military activity.
  • Aleutian Airways plans to start regularly scheduled service between Unalaska and Anchorage next month, according to a statement released by the airline Tuesday morning. Fares for a one-way ticket will start at $659, while a refundable ticket will cost $939. Those fares are about the same as the ones offered by Ravn Alaska — the other airline currently servicing the island. The new regional carrier, which is operated by Sterling Airways, will offer daily flights Monday through Friday, on its Saab 2000 aircraft, which is a high-speed turboprop plane that holds around 50 passengers.
  • Unalaska declared October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month — a tradition the city has observed for about 20 years. M. Lynn Crane is the executive director of Unalaskans Against Sexual Assault and Family Violence. Crane gave a presentation at last week’s city council meeting, when Mayor Vince Tutiakoff, Sr. officially proclaimed October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
  • A Coast Guard crew encountered a Chinese guided missile cruiser in the Bering Sea last week. The Coast Guard Cutter Kimball was on a routine patrol on Sept. 19, when the vessel encountered the Renhai CG 101 about 75 miles north of Kiska Island, in the Western Aleutians, according to a Coast Guard statement Monday morning. The statement said the Coast Guard crew identified two more Chinese naval vessels and four Russian naval vessels, including a Russian Federation Navy destroyer.
  • If you take a close look, kelp can be found all over the place, from your pantry to your shower shelves: It’s in beer, vitamins, salad dressings, toothpaste, even shampoos. Seaweed is gaining popularity across the globe, and with it, so is kelp farming. Alaska’s nascent kelp industry is following suit. The first commercial farm in the state was established in 2016, and more are popping up every year. But industry experts say Alaska farmers are currently facing a challenging growth spurt.
  • Aleutian Airways has been granted approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to start charter and scheduled air service to Unalaska. That’s according to a statement released by the new regional airline Wednesday morning. While charters will start immediately, the company says it will announce scheduled routes within the next two weeks. The news comes just one week after the company ran a successful test flight of its Saab 2000 aircraft to Unalaska’s Tom Madsen airport.
  • With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine earlier this year, fuel costs spiked across the nation, inciting a rise in air travel costs. Then a slew of factors compounded the problem: inflation, bad weather, pilot shortages and loads of people traveling sent those prices even higher. And in Unalaska, 800 air miles from Anchorage, nestled between the Bering Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, those costs are landing a hard blow.
  • A Saab 2000 aircraft landed in Unalaska Wednesday morning for the first time in three years. It was a test flight for Aleutian Airways, a new regional carrier operated by Sterling Airways, to demonstrate to the Federal Aviation Administration they are qualified to land the Saab 2000 aircraft at Tom Madsen International Airport.