Winter in Unalaska by Sam Zmolek
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  • The United States Army is scheduled to visit Unalaska in April, following up on a trip they made in 2020 to assess the community’s infrastructure needs, as well as Unalaska’s ability to host a larger military presence. It’s part of a Department of Defense program called Innovative Readiness Training, or IRT, and is designed to train civil affairs soldiers while also providing service or aid to local communities.
  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Tuesday it had received funding approval for the Unalaska Bay dredging project, which aims to clear a channel through an underwater shoal at the entrance to Iliuliuk Bay, just outside Dutch Harbor and the Unalaska Spit.
  • The North Pacific Fishery Management Council last Sunday approved a total allowable catch for the 2023-24 Eastern Bering Sea pollock fishery of 1.3 million metric tons. That's up about 17% from 2022, when it was set at 1.11 million, but it's lower than other recent years.
  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is moving forward with dredging the entrance to Iliuliuk Bay, a project that has been in the works for years. Once finished, the project would create a channel to pass through a large shoal of glacial moraine that runs across the bay. Currently, those compressed glacial boulders and rocks make the water much shallower than the surrounding areas.
  • 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.
  • Mack Rutherford is on a quest to be the youngest person ever to fly solo around the world. The 17-year-old landed Monday in Unalaska in his Shark ultralight plane.
  • Unalaska has officially kicked off its first cruise ship season after two years of pandemic-related cancellations. The 459-foot Roald Amundsen docked in Dutch Harbor on Monday with about 350 passengers aboard.
  • It was still dark at Unalaska’s Robert Storrs Small Boat Harbor, just before 5 a.m. on a fair spring morning. Normally, Dustan Dickerson and his three-man crew would be warming up the engine of the 54-foot Raven Bay by now so they could head out a few miles to haul and set cod pots, eat, sleep and repeat for a couple days before returning home. But on this mid-March morning, the crew was joined by three sleepy-eyed greenhorns: Corynn Lekanoff, Kaidon Parker and Anatoly Fomin. The three local teens were headed out for a day trip to get a glimpse into the life of Unalaska’s small boat fishermen. The trip is part of an outreach program led and started earlier this year by Dickerson, captain and owner of the Raven Bay. It’s meant to provide local youth with the chance to get on a boat and see what fishing is all about.
  • The world’s attention is focused on Russia’s European border, but tensions are also building on the country’s far eastern border with the United States. And it's a conflict that’s been simmering for decades. Melting ice and thawing permafrost in the Arctic are opening previously inaccessible resources, like oil and minerals. That’s leading Arctic nations like Russia, the United States and Canada to focus increased attention on the region. And Alaska has a front row seat.
  • The International Longshore and Warehouse Union announced in a statement Thursday that they won’t touch Russian ships or cargo. ILWU President Willie Adams said in the statement that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine prompted the action. “With this action in solidarity with the people of Ukraine, we send a message that we unequivocally condemn the Russian invasion,” Adams said.