Story last updated at 2:37 p.m. Thursday, December 5, 2002

News briefs
Power outage darkens peninsula

A transformer failure at the Bradley Lake hydroelectric plant caused a power outage on much of the Kenai Peninsula and parts of Anchorage on Friday.

The failure happened at 1:15 p.m. at the plant about 27 miles northeast of Homer. The failure tripped the turbines and shut down the plant, said HEA spokesman Joe Gallagher.

"The transformer is in a building at the plant, and for some reason it failed," he said. "Why it failed is anybody's guess."

Gallagher said the failure caused an automated load shed, which means the system recognized a decrease in power supply and stopped providing power to customers.

About 2,000 HEA customers from Nikiski to Homer were affected by the outage, he said. Power was restored within about 30 minutes.

In a load-shed situation, customers are prioritized, Gallagher said.

"This was a stage one load shed, which means residential customers are the first ones that are going to go down," he said.

Gallagher said repair crews rewired the system around the transformer, which will need to be replaced.

The Bradley Lake plant is owned by the state of Alaska. Built in 1991, it serves customers from the Kenai Peninsula to Fairbanks. It was back online Friday by 6 p.m.

Forest council seeks volunteers

The Alaska Community Forest Council is seeking applications from volunteers interested in planting, preserving and caring for trees and forests in communities. The council promotes managing natural resources within communities to maximize their benefits and to improve the quality of life for residents and visitors.

The nonprofit council advises the Alaska Division of Forestry on ways to foster partnerships between government agencies, businesses and volunteers to develop and support local community forestry programs. Members also review community forestry grant proposals to the state. Two of the council's 15 seats are now open, with five more opening in June.

Members are required: to attend all-day meetings four times each year, usually in Anchorage; to serve on a working committee; and to promote and support community forestry in the town where they live.

Applications and information about the council and the Alaska Community Forestry Program are available from the Community Forestry Office in Anchorage at 269-8466, or online by sending an e-mail request to patricia_joyner@dnr.state.ak.us. The deadline for applications is Jan. 15. New appointees will be notified in early February. Applications may be mailed to the Alaska Community Forest Council, P.O. Box 242613, Anchorage, Alaska, 99524.

Chamber joins annual pasta feed

The Homer Chamber of Commerce will hold a special holiday luncheon Dec. 10 at the Homer Elks Lodge. The spaghetti feed will be served by Share the Spirit volunteers, with a holiday concert performed. Share the Spirit organizers will give a brief presentation and the Homer Library Building Committee will talk about the proposed options for the new library.

The luncheon begins at noon, and admission costs $10. All door receipts will benefit Share the Spirit. The lunch is open to the public. For more information, call the chamber at 235-7740.

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