Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of June 23, 2015

glassmelt15

Time again for Svalbard’s most intoxicating contest
The official arrival of summer means it’s time to deal with the season’s really big question: when will the “stem” of the enormous champaign glass on Operafjellet break? Predictions for the date when the “glass” of snow will be severed are being accepted until July 1, with this year’s winner receiving a bottle of quality champaign. If two or more people pict the same date, the person submitting their entry first will be the winner. Last year’s melt date was July 14 and the previous year was July 12, but meteorologist and former winner Torgeir Mørk said this year’s date will likely be significantly later due to a thick layer of ice built up in February and relatively low temperatures so far this month. Hiking up to the snow and tampering with it – which is reported to have happened a few years ago – is prohibited. Entries should be sent to stetten@svalbardposten.no.

Exploding batteries in homes prompt fire, police concerns
A battery that exploded and set off a fire alarm while recharging in a residence Saturday night is the latest of several such incidents, some of which have resulted in fires, according to The Governor of Svalbard. “We will look at (the charger) to determine if there is a correlation between specific types,” said Police Chief Lt. Roger Haugen. Among the most serious incidents was an explosion last October where the battery fell into a sack beside a workbench that caught fire, causing flames to spread to the walls before firefighters extinguished them.

Trio of priests returning to lead church this summer
Ruth Irene Rasmussen, the chaplain at the hospital in Fredrikstad, has been appointed the summer substitute priest at Svalbard Church from 15 to July 6. Margrethe Ølberg, a priest in Odda, will then preside until July 2, followed by retired priest Lars Bernardt Ølberg  until Aug. 14. All have served temporarily at the church previously.