Reel History: Top News From 1982


Marina Cummiskey/KMXT
Hi, I’m Marina Cummiskey, an intern here at KMXT as part of the station’s summer archiving project. This week I digitized a reel containing summaries of the top ten news stories reported from Kodiak in 1982. The top ten list was hosted by John Fifer, and number five was a story about a drug bust in the North Pacific.
On June 20th, 1982, the US Coast Guard cutter Boutwell seized a sailboat halfway between Hawaii and Adak, carrying 1.5 tons of marijuana. The story was aired on KMXT two days before any newspaper printed it, and was later aired nationally containing more details about the event.

“What sounds like another drug bust on the high seas becomes much more than that off the coast of Alaska. John Fifer, of member station KMXT in Kodiak Alaska has the story. ‘When the coast guard cutter Boutwell arrived at its home port of Seattle last night, its skipper told reporters that several of his crewmen, on two separate occasions, had tried to steal the marijuana loaded sailboat his ship was towing to port. In the first attempt, revealed by the Coast Guard earlier this week, two crewmen reportedly tried to disable the cutter, with the hope of making a clean getaway. The second hijack attempt, revealed for the first time last night, happened almost one week after the first, and cost one coast guard crewman his life. The crewman was apparently lost overboard during the attempt, but because the skipper was not notified, the searchfor the man was delayed. All of the crewmen believed to be involved in the hijack attempt are now in custody.’ “
The reel also had stories like the KONIAG dispute, city hall resignations, and the building of the Terror Lake hydroelectric plant. The construction was recorded as the largest in Kodiak’s history at the time. The building began in the early spring of 1982, and cost $180 million. However, the plant promised to provide enough power to sustain Kodiak for 10 years.
Another big story from 1982 was the opening of the harbor in Dog Bay. According to the news reel, the harbor was expected to hold 350 vessels, and was the first facility for boats up to 150 feet long.
It was nominated as one of ten most outstanding harbor developments in the United States by the Alaska Oil and Industry magazine. A story focused on the ribbon cutting ceremony summarized several of the speeches at the event.
“Mayor Beardsley called Dog Bay Harbor ‘the project that received the most lasting attention, created the most public controversy, and resulted in the most frustration. ‘It was the combination of 20 plus years of activity of the part of Kodiak with a lot of frustration, and we look at it as the combination of tremendous effort by a lot of people and it means a lot to the financial well-being of Kodiak."
Thanks for joining me as I recap my week of archiving reel to reel audio.

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