Anchorage, Dec 3 (AP/UNB) — The supply chain of food and other goods delivered to the Port of Anchorage from the Lower 48 has not been disrupted by the powerful earthquake that caused widespread damage to roads in the Anchorage area.
"The ships are coming in on schedule, the supply lines are at this point uninterrupted," Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz said Sunday at a news conference.
The magnitude 7.0 earthquake rattled the state's largest city early Friday morning swaying buildings and fraying nerves. There were no reports of deaths, serious injuries or structural damage to buildings.
Roads, however, took the brunt of the damage, especially the scenic Glenn Highway, the closest thing Alaska has to an interstate and links the state's largest city to suburban communities to the north.
Traffic has been snarled since the quake. Delays came as drivers were diverted around road damage on temporary detours or the highway was reduced to one lane while crews try to reconstruct the roadway after the temblor caused sinkholes and buckled pavement.
Employees who live north of Anchorage are being encouraged to take Monday off or work from home if possible to reduce traffic. Gov. Bill Walker, who leaves office at noon Monday, gave state workers in the Anchorage area the day off to help reduce the number of cars on the highway. Schools have been closed until Dec. 10, which should also reduce traffic.
Walker said he would not be traveling to the rural village of Noorvik for the swearing in of Gov.-elect Mike Dunleavy on Monday but instead would remain in Anchorage to keep working on recovery efforts.
Roads aren't the only transportation worry in Alaska.
About 90 percent of all the goods sold in Alaska are delivered to the Port of Anchorage, where officials have completed a preliminary damage assessment.
"Everything looked good," Municipal Manager Bill Falsey said. "There was some structural concerns with some of the trestles. We have got some things on a watch list but nothing that should impede operations."
Two major cargo companies operate at the port. One was offloading barges as normal on Sunday, and the other company is scheduled to offload barges Monday after successfully testing their crane system.
Jet fuel was also being unloaded at another terminal Sunday.
"We're estimating we have on hand now automotive gasoline supplies that will be good for at least three weeks, and that the next shipment comes in on Dec. 7," he said. "We're not expecting any disruptions to those supply chains."
Officials on Saturday encouraged Alaskans not to make a run on grocery stores, saying there was no reason to hoard food.
However, at least one grocery store Sunday morning had no milk and little to no bread, bottled water or bananas.
Berkowitz said the stories he's heard, particularly from grocery stores, in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake was of cooperation and sharing.
"Even when people were initially concerned, people who might have been reaching for the last item, looked over and saw someone else and said, 'Yes, we are sharing this with you,'" he said.
He also touted Alaskans' longstanding tradition to stock up for long winters.
"I would encourage people, once the ships get in, once things settle back down, make sure you have the emergency preparations, the emergency kits that you should have," he said.
Schools will be closed for the week so damage assessments can be conducted on about 4,000 classrooms in 86 schools and four other facilities, comprising 8 million square feet, to make sure they are safe for staff and students, Superintendent Dr. Deena Bishop said Sunday.
Argentina , Dec 2(AP/UNB) — Donald Trump, the disruptive, anti-establishment president who spent years deriding much of what George H.W. Bush stood for, set aside differences in politics and temperament Saturday to honor the late president.
Trump declared a day of national mourning and ordered American flags to be flown at half-staff for 30 days to honor a man of "sound judgment, common sense and unflappable leadership." The president and first lady Melania Trump added that Bush had "inspired generations of his fellow Americans to public service."
Bush, who was president from 1989 to 1993, died late Friday at age 94.
The quarter-century since Bush left office featured his Republican Party's steady march away from his steely pragmatism and international partnership, culminating in the dramatic break from long-held GOP principles ushered by Trump's election. It coincided with a swing in the nation as a whole toward more tribal politics.
While Trump spoke graciously, he has not always been so kind to Bush or his family. He ran against one of Bush's sons, Jeb Bush, in the GOP presidential primaries in 2016, and was sharply critical of the two-term presidency of another, George W. Bush. He shattered the unwritten norms of the small fraternity of Oval Office occupants by keeping up criticism of the Bushes from the West Wing.
The White House announced Saturday that the Trumps would attend a state funeral for the former president at Washington's National Cathedral.
The announcement marked a reversal from earlier this year, when the president was pointedly not invited to the funeral of former first lady Barbara Bush, the family matriarch and the late president's wife of 73 years. Melania Trump attended instead.
The Trumps were informed of Bush's death late Friday while in Buenos Aires for the Group of 20 summit of rich and developing nations.
Trump said he spoke with former President George W. Bush and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to express his sympathies. He praised President George H.W. Bush as "a high-quality man who truly loved his family."
Sitting alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel, he refused to say whether he had any regrets over his past criticism of the Bushes. He did say that Bush's death "really puts a damper" on his participation at the summit.
In South America, Trump canceled a planned news conference, tweeting that "out of respect for the Bush Family and former President George H.W. Bush we will wait until after the funeral" to hold one.
Trump also announced that he has authorized the use of the iconic Boeing 747 presidential aircraft, known as Air Force One whenever a president is on board, to transport Bush's remains to Washington — a customary honor for a former president. Bush is to lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda from Monday evening through Wednesday morning.
Trump also closed government offices Wednesday and designated it as a national day of mourning, which traditionally occurs on the same day as the Washington component of a late president's state funeral. He encouraged Americans to gather in places of worship "to pay homage" to Bush's memory, adding, "I invite the people of the world who share our grief to join us in this solemn observance."
The proclamation hails Bush as "one of America's greatest points of light," a reference to one of the former leader's signature phrases about the impact of American civic culture.
Trump mocked the "points of light" phrase at some of his campaign rallies this year. He contrasted it with his own campaign slogan, saying "Putting America first, we understand. Thousand points of light, I never quite got that one."
In August 2015, Trump tweeted a dig at the presidency of George H.W. Bush, writing: "The last thing we need is another Bush in the White House. Would be the same old thing (remember "read my lips, no more taxes"). GREATNESS!" As a candidate, Bush promised "no new taxes" but reversed himself in office.
Those harsh assessments were set aside in the Trumps' comments Saturday.
"President Bush guided our nation and the world to a peaceful and victorious conclusion of the Cold War," the Trumps wrote. "As President, he set the stage for the decades of prosperity that have followed."
"And through all that he accomplished, he remained humble, following the quiet call to service that gave him a clear sense of direction."
They wrote that those whom Bush had inspired to public service were "illuminating the greatness, hope and opportunity of America to the world."
Trump, the 45th president, paid tribute to "the life and legacy of 41."
Houston, Dec 1 (AP/UNB) -George H.W. Bush, a patrician New Englander whose presidency soared with the coalition victory over Iraq in Kuwait, but then plummeted in the throes of a weak economy that led voters to turn him out of office after a single term, has died. He was 94.
The World War II hero, who also presided during the collapse of the Soviet Union and the final months of the Cold War, died late Friday night at his Houston home, said family spokesman Jim McGrath.
President Bush 41 passed away tonight pic.twitter.com/O6AcspqQgQ— John Roberts (@johnrobertsFox) December 1, 2018
Son of a senator, father of a president, Bush was the man with the golden resume who rose through the political ranks, from congressman to U.N. ambassador, Republican Party chairman to envoy to China, CIA director to two-term vice president under the hugely popular Ronald Reagan. The 1991 Gulf War stoked his popularity. But Bush would acknowledge that he had trouble articulating "the vision thing," and he was haunted by his decision to break a stern, solemn vow he made to voters: "Read my lips. No new taxes."
He lost his bid for re-election to Bill Clinton in a campaign in which businessman H. Ross Perot took almost 19 percent of the vote as an independent candidate. Still, he lived to see son George W. twice elected to the presidency — only the second father and son chief executives, following John Adams and John Quincy Adams.
The 43rd president issued a statement Friday following his father's death, saying the elder Bush "was a man of the highest character."
In the years after his presidency, George H.W. Bush came to be seen as a fundamentally decent and well-meaning leader who, though not a stirring orator or a visionary, was a steadfast humanitarian.
Bush entered the White House in 1989 with a reputation as a man of indecision and indeterminate views. One newsmagazine suggested he was a "wimp," but his work-hard, play-hard approach to the presidency won broad public approval. He held more news conferences in most months than Reagan did in most years.
The Iraq crisis of 1990-91 brought out all the skills Bush had honed in a quarter-century of politics and public service.
After Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990, Bush quickly began building an international military coalition that included other Arab states. After winning United Nations support and a green light from a reluctant Congress, Bush unleashed a punishing air war against Iraq and a five-day ground juggernaut that sent Iraqi forces reeling in disarray back to Baghdad. He basked in the biggest outpouring of patriotism and pride in America's military since World War II, and his approval ratings soared to nearly 90 percent.
After freeing Kuwait, he rejected suggestions that the U.S. carry the offensive to Baghdad, choosing to end the hostilities a mere 100 hours after the start of the ground offensive.
The decisive military defeat did not lead to the regime's downfall, as many in the administration had hoped. His legacy was dogged for years by doubts about the decision not to remove Saddam Hussein. The Iraqi leader was eventually ousted in 2003, in the war led by Bush's son that was followed by a long, bloody insurgency.
The elder Bush's prime interest was foreign policy. Under his watch, the Berlin Wall came down, the Warsaw Pact disintegrated and the Soviet satellites fell out of orbit.
Bush's invasion of Panama in December 1989 was a military precursor of the Gulf War — a quick operation with a resoundingly superior American force. The troops seized dictator Manuel Noriega and brought him back to the United States in chains to stand trial on drug-trafficking charges.
The other battles he fought as president, including a war on drugs and a crusade to make American children the best educated in the world, were not so decisively won.
He rode into office pledging to make the United States a "kinder, gentler" nation and calling on Americans to volunteer for good causes, to create "a thousand points of light."
An avid outdoorsman, Bush sought to safeguard the environment and signed the first improvements to the Clean Air Act in more than a decade. He also signed the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act to ban workplace discrimination against people with disabilities and require improved access to public places and transportation.
There were points of dissention. His nomination of a little-known federal appeals judge to the U.S. Supreme Court, Clarence Thomas, became a battle royal when Thomas was accused of sexual harassment by a former colleague, Anita Hill. His confirmation hearings, a national spectacle, sparking an intense debate over race, gender and the workplace. Thomas was eventually confirmed.
Bush violated his no-new-taxes promise in the second year of his term, cutting a deficit-reduction deal that angered many congressional Republicans and contributed to GOP losses in the 1990 midterm elections. Then, seven years of economic growth ended in mid-1990, just as the Gulf crisis began to unfold. Bush insisted the recession would be "short and shallow," and lawmakers did not even try to pass a jobs bill or other relief measures.
George Herbert Walker Bush was born June 12, 1924, in Milton, Massachusetts. He was born into the New England elite, a world of prep schools, mansions and servants that was seemingly untouched by the Great Depression.
His father, Prescott Bush, the son of an Ohio steel magnate, made his fortune as an investment banker and later served 10 years as a senator from Connecticut.
George H.W. Bush enlisted in the Navy on his 18th birthday in 1942, right out of prep school. He returned home to marry his 19-year-old sweetheart, Barbara Pierce, daughter of the publisher of McCall's magazine, in January 1945.
They would be together for more than 70 years, becoming the longest-married presidential couple in U.S. history. She died on April 17, 2018.
The couple had four sons — Neil, Marvin, the future president George W. and the presidential candidate and Florida governor Jeb — and two daughters, Dorothy and Robin, who died at age 3.
Lean and athletic at 6-foot-2, Bush became a war hero while still a teenager. One of the youngest pilots in the Navy, he flew 58 missions off the carrier USS San Jacinto.
He had to ditch one plane in the Pacific and was shot down on Sept. 2, 1944, while completing a bombing run against a Japanese radio tower. An American submarine rescued Bush. His two crewmates perished. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross for bravery.
After the war, Bush took just 2½ years to graduate from Yale, then headed west in 1948 to the oil fields of West Texas. Six years later, he moved to Houston and became active in the Republican Party.
In politics, he showed the same commitment he had displayed in business. Bush was first elected to Congress in 1966, serving two terms, and went on to serve as ambassador to the United Nations, Republican national chairman through the worst of the Watergate scandal, envoy to China, CIA director and vice president.
He made his first bid for president in 1980 and won the first contest, the Iowa caucuses. But Reagan went on to win the nomination. Bush had ridiculed Reagan's tax cut plan as "voodoo economics," but when Reagan failed to lure Gerald Ford as his running mate, he turned to Bush.
In the 1988 presidential race, Bush and his running mate, Indiana Sen. Dan Quayle, trailed the Democratic nominee, Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, by as many as 17 points that summer. But Bush soon became an aggressor, flailing Dukakis as an out-of-touch liberal. He carried 40 states and achieved a nearly 7 million-vote plurality, becoming the first sitting vice president to be elected president since Martin Van Buren in 1836.
He took office with the humility that was his hallmark.
"Some see leadership as high drama, and the sound of trumpets calling, and sometimes it is that," he said at his inauguration. "But I see history as a book with many pages, and each day we fill a page with acts of hopefulness and meaning. The new breeze blows, a page turns, the story unfolds."
San Diego, Dec 1 (AP/UNB) — An attempt to smuggle immigrants into the country illegally ended with three people dead and eight seriously injured in a crash in a remote, rugged area of California near the Mexico border, authorities said.
The incident began Thursday afternoon when U.S. Border Patrol agents discovered tire tracks for several cars that ran from the international border north into the U.S. The agency calls such incidents "drive-throughs" — instances in which cars illegally enter the U.S., often through remote areas.
They found a piece of a vehicle that they recognized as likely being from a pickup truck spotted nearby 10 minutes later. Agents tried to stop the pickup, but it fled, entering and exiting Interstate 8 twice and weaving through traffic at speeds up to 100 mph, according to witnesses.
Agents then deployed a tire deflation device, and the truck lost control within a minute, crashing and rolling over.
California authorities say one woman and two men were killed in the crash on westbound I-8 about 60 miles (96 kilometers) east of San Diego.
California Highway Patrol spokesman Officer Travis Garrow says a male driver and a female passenger were believed to be seated in the cab of the truck, and nine men were in the bed.
Authorities haven't identified anyone involved in the crash but said the driver could face vehicular manslaughter charges.
It's believed the illegal crossing happened near Campo, California. The Border Patrol released photos of steel fencing cut to allow enough space for a vehicle to pass through.
The crash occurred in a sparsely populated area of rugged oak- and chaparral-covered mountains on the main highway between San Diego and Arizona. Migrants typically walk across the border several miles south and hide in the boulders and brush for hours, even days, for smugglers to pick them up on the side of a paved rural road.
It is one of the busiest corridors for illegal crossings on California's border with Mexico. The Border Patrol uses motion and ground sensors as well as cameras, but it is still viewed by smugglers and migrants as a route with better chances of success than San Diego.
It wasn't immediately clear if any of the immigrants in the truck were involved in the migrant caravan from Central America, although the Border Patrol says that the ones who survived are all Mexicans.
Agency spokeswoman Takae Michael said the pickup was traveling with another car before agents spotted it. Agents later found that car abandoned in the driveway of a home, and they arrested 12 people who also were believed to be involved in smuggling.
The Border Patrol has been involved in several fatal pursuit crashes, including one in Texas this June in which five of 12 passengers in a car being chased by agents died. In March 2016, two people were killed while in a car that was fleeing Border Patrol agents on I-8 near Yuma.
Border Patrol policy states agents can only chase vehicles when the benefit outweighs any immediate danger of such pursuits. It also states that agents can use tire-deflating devices if a vehicle they're trying to stop fails to do so, but that agents should consider how safe it is to do so, like whether there are other cars around and what the area's topography is.
The agency's vehicle pursuit policy was overhauled in the 1990s after a Border Patrol chase in California's Riverside County ended in a deadly crash near a high school. Four students and a father who was driving his son to school were killed.
Josiah Heyman, the director of the Center for Inter-American and Border Studies at the University of Texas at El Paso, said the Border Patrol's use of vehicle pursuits has been problematic.
He says agents aren't usually involved in chasing high-level criminals, but rather immigrants who, if they crossed illegally, would face a misdemeanor count of illegal entry or a felony one if they'd done so before.
Large numbers of immigrants are usually packed in cars when they're being smuggled and can't wear seatbelts, making a crash even more dangerous, Heyman said.
"It amplifies the dangerousness of this," Heyman said. "I think in all cases, vehicular pursuit is still a risky choice because the risk is not just to innocent bystanders, the risk is to the officer and the risk is to the people in the vehicle."
U.S. Customs and Border Protection says its Office of Personal Responsibility is investigating the agent's response.
The driver of the car, a U.S. citizen, is in police custody.
Alaska, Dec 1 (AP/UNB) — Back-to-back earthquakes measuring 7.0 and 5.7 shattered highways and rocked buildings Friday in Anchorage and the surrounding area, sending people running into the streets and briefly triggering a tsunami warning for islands and coastal areas south of the city.
No tsunami arrived and there were no immediate reports of deaths or serious injuries.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the first and more powerful quake was centered about 7 miles (12 kilometers) north of Anchorage, Alaska's largest city, with a population of about 300,000. People ran from their offices or took cover under desks. The 5.7 aftershock arrived within minutes, followed by a series of smaller quakes.
"We just hung onto each other. You couldn't even stand," said Sheila Bailey, who was working at a high school cafeteria in Palmer when the quake struck. "It sounded and felt like the school was breaking apart."
A large section of an off-ramp near the Anchorage airport collapsed, marooning a car on a narrow island of pavement surrounded by deep chasms in the concrete. Several cars crashed at a major intersection in Wasilla, north of Anchorage, during the shaking.
Anchorage Police Chief Justin Doll said he had been told that parts of Glenn Highway, a scenic route that runs northeast out of the city past farms, mountains and glaciers, had "completely disappeared." Traffic in the three lanes heading out of the city was bumper-to-bumper and all but stopped Friday afternoon as emergency vehicles passed on the shoulder.
The quake broke store windows, knocked items off shelves, opened cracks in a two-story, downtown building, disrupted electrical service and disabled traffic lights, snarling traffic. It also threw a full-grown man out of his bathtub.
Flights at the airport were suspended for hours after the quake knocked out telephones and forced the evacuation of the control tower. And the 800-mile Alaska oil pipeline was shut down while crews were sent to inspect it for damage.
Anchorage's school system canceled classes and asked parents to pick up their children while it examined buildings for gas leaks or other damage.
Fifteen-year-old Sadie Blake and other members of the Homer High School wrestling team were at an Anchorage school gymnasium for a tournament when the bleachers started rocking and the lights went out. People started running down the bleachers in the dark, trying to get out.
"It was a gym full of screams," said team chaperone Ginny Grimes.
When it was over, Sadie said, there was only one thing she could do: "I started crying."
Jonathan Lettow was waiting with his 5-year-old daughter and other children for a school bus near their home in Wasilla when the quake struck. The children got on the ground while Lettow tried to keep them calm.
"It's one of those things where in your head, you think, 'OK, it's going to stop,' and you say that to yourself so many times in your head that finally you think, 'OK, maybe this isn't going to stop,'" he said.
Soon after the shaking ended, the school bus pulled up and the children boarded, but the driver stopped at a bridge and refused to go across because of deep cracks in the road, Lettow said.
At Chugiak High School, acting principal Allison Susel said ceiling tiles came down, books and other items fell from shelves, and water line breaks caused damage.
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin tweeted that her home was damaged: "Our family is intact — house is not. I imagine that's the case for many, many others." She posted a video of the inside of her parents' home, with broken dishes littering the kitchen floor. A large set of antlers appeared to have fallen off a wall of the living room.
Gov. Bill Walker issued a disaster declaration. He was in an elevator in a high-rise Anchorage office building and said it was a "rough ride" coming down. He described the quake as a 7.2, though it was unclear why his figure differed from that of the USGS.
Walker says it will take more than a week or two to repair roads damaged by the earthquake.
"This is much more significant than that," he told reporters at a news conference.
Walker leaves office on Monday, and he said members of Gov.-elect Mike Dunleavy's staff had been involved with the earthquake response to ensure a smooth transition.
"This isn't a time to do anything other than take care of Alaskans, and that's what we're doing," he said.
In Kenai, southwest of Anchorage, Brandon Slaton was home alone and soaking in his bathtub when the earthquake struck. Slaton, who weighs 209 pounds, said it created a powerful back-and-forth sloshing that threw him out of the tub.
His 120-pound mastiff panicked and tried to run down the stairs, but the house was swaying so much that the dog was thrown into a wall and tumbled down the stairs, Slaton said.
Slaton ran into his son's room after the shaking stopped. The boy's fish was on the floor, gasping, its tank shattered. Slaton put the fish in a bowl.
"It was anarchy," he said. "There's no pictures left on the walls, there's no power, there's no fish tank left. Everything that's not tied down is broke."
Alaska was the site of the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in the U.S. The 9.2-magnitude quake on March 27, 1964, was centered about 75 miles (120 kilometers) east of Anchorage. It and the tsunami it triggered claimed about 130 lives.
The state averages 40,000 earthquakes a year, with more large quakes than the 49 other states combined. Southern Alaska has a high risk of earthquakes because the Earth's plates slide past each other under the region.
Alaska has been hit by a number of powerful quakes over 7.0 in recent decades, including a 7.9 last January southeast of Kodiak Island. But it is rare for a quake this big to strike so close to such a heavily populated area.
David Harper was getting coffee at a store when the low rumble began and intensified into something that sounded "like the building was just going to fall apart." He ran for the exit with other patrons.
"People who were outside were actively hugging each other," he said. "You could tell that it was a bad one."