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Monday, January 16, 2012

Snowed-In Valdez, Alaska Recruits More Snow Removal Workers

14-year-old Doug Hamrick shovels snow off of his family's roof in Anchorage. (AP)

If all goes as planned Nome, Alaska should start getting fuel from the Russian tanker Renda within the next day or two.

Crews are building a path over a half-mile of Bering Sea ice to lay a hose to pump diesel, gasoline and home heating oil from the tanker to shore.

A November storm prevented Nome’s 3,500 residents from getting a fuel shipment and supplies were expected to run out in spring.

Labor And Shovel Shortages

Meanwhile, officials in Valdez, Alaska are offering workers $20 an hour to help the 170 people already recruited to dig the town out from more than 322 inches of snow in what’s been an especially harsh Alaska winter.

“There’s a lot of snow and not quite enough elbow grease,”  journalist Geo Beach told Here & Now‘s Robin Young.

“The piles in town are reaching thirty feet, and too much on the roof,” he said.

Beach says next door in Cordova, Alaska, there are enough people to shovel the record-setting snow, there’s just a shortage of shovels that are strong enough.

“There’s been a special shipment direct from the manufacturing plant in the lower 48 to try and get the proper armaments into the hands of Cordovans,” he said.

Guest:

  • Geo Beach, independent journalist and host of “Tougher In Alaska” on History. His columns appear in Anchorage Daily News

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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