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Organized Village of Kake, Alaska

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A breach in an aging wooden dam in late July left Kake without water for drinking or the town's seafood processing operation. A log slammed into the face of the dam, fractured a structural beam and punched a hole about the size of grapefruit, draining the town reservoir, Mayor Lonnie Anderson said. "There ... was no way in heck that people could even get near to do anything ... ." Officials feared the dam, built in the 1950s, would break all at once and wash away a $10 million hatchery downstream. Now they worry public health and the town's economy will suffer from a lack of water. "We've got plenty of water, but none of it's usable," said Anderson, who declared a disaster and appealed to state and federal officials for help. Business all but shut down in the middle of the peak summer season, idling two-thirds of the town's workers. "We can't process fish without fresh water," said Sam Jackson of Kake Tribal Corp. "It's the height of seafood processing operations ... ." A project intended to supplement the water supply by connecting Kake with a lake more than 6 miles away isn't slated for completion until October, Anderson said.

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