- - Monday, January 7, 2013

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A Royal Dutch Shell PLC drill vessel pulled from rocks off a remote Alaska island reached shelter Monday morning in a Kodiak Island bay after having lifted off rocks at 10:10 p.m. local time Sunday.

The Kulluk reached its anchoring point about 12 hours later in Kiliuda Bay, where it’s out of the worst of waves and wind offered by the Gulf of Alaska. Salvors reported swells of 15 feet, which diminished after the vessels reached protected waters.

Shell incident commander Sean Churchfield says the vessel came off the grounding relatively easy under tow by the 360-foot anchor handler Aiviq. The trip covered about 45 nautical miles.


Oregon man brews alcohol-free beer for dogs

BEND, Ore. — An Oregon man who loves beer and loves his dog has concocted some hooch for the pooch.

Daniel Keeton, who works at Bend’s Boneyard Brewery tasting room, and calls his alcohol-free canine creation Dawg Grog. Ingredients include vegetable broth and spent grain.

Bottles of Dawg Grog are on sale at the Visit Bend store, along with other local beers. Mr. Keeton says his dog, Lola Jane, usually licks her bowl clean.


Safety panel sets rules ordering electric vehicles to run louder

DETROIT — A government safety agency wants electric and hybrid vehicles to make more noise when traveling at low speeds so pedestrians can hear them coming.

The cars and trucks, which are far quieter than conventional gasoline or diesel-powered vehicles, don’t make enough noise at low speeds to warn walkers, bicyclists and the visually impaired, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Monday.

The proposed rule would require the cars to make additional noise at speeds slower than 18 miles per hour. NHTSA says the cars make enough noise to be heard at higher speeds.


Justice skeptical of limits on class-action lawsuits

The Supreme Court on Monday questioned efforts by consumers’ lawyers to limit the amount of money sought in class-action lawsuits so they are heard in state courts rather than more business-friendly federal court.

The justices appeared receptive to an insurance company’s argument that lawyers artificially lower the amount at stake to keep the lawsuits in state courts, which often favor plaintiffs. The Standard Fire Insurance Co. says the tactic drags out lawsuits and makes them too expensive to fight.

The case involves a 2005 federal law that allows defendants to transfer class actions involving more than $5 million to federal court. A federal appeals court ruled that an Arkansas homeowner’s suit over hail damage could remain in state court because he has promised in writing to seek less than $5 million for himself and other Arkansas homeowners insured by Standard Fire.

The issue for the justices is whether Greg Knowles’ promise binds others who may become part of the lawsuit. The company says the Class Action Fairness Act bars such promises.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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