December 14, 2011 | Vol. 23 Edition 50

News Briefs

Port Authority second report favorable

Valdez Star photo
Valdez Post Master Jeff Avery shows the post office bulging with Christmas packages awaiting pickup.

A new report on the economic impact of an all-Alaska natural gas pipeline to Valdez says Fairbanks could save up to 80 percent on its energy costs under the development plan pushed by the Alaska Gasline Port Authority. Bethel, an off-road hub on the Kuskokwim Delta, could see savings of 25 to 65 percent.

The study was conducted by PDC Harris Group LLC in Anchorage and commissioned by the Port Authority. Bill Walker, Port Authority spokesman and project manager, said the report is the second of three reports commissioned to prove the all-Alaska gasline concept is not only economically viable, but vital to the state’s economic future.

If built, the instate line will provide natural gas based fuels to numerous communities in Alaska and profit sharing royalties to communities all through the state. The bulk of the fuel would be exported to Asia.

Another record weather day

The National Weather Service in Valdez reported a new daily snowfall record for December 11, after 20.3 inches of snow fell. The old record for that date was 14.9 inches set in 2001. The temperature that evening skyrocketed to 40 degrees, matching the current record set in 2002. As of Tuesday morning, December 13, Valdez recorded 10.3 feet of snowfall, compared to a yearly average of 80 inches.

Valdez Star takes Christmas Break

The Valdez Star will take a break from its usual printing schedule for a one week holiday between Christmas and New Years. This means the December 21 edition will be the last of 2011 according to staff.

This will be the fifth year in a row the Valdez Star has printed 51 editions per year rather than 52.

Valdez legislative priorities

The Valdez City Council met telephonically with sen. John Coghill and Rep. Eric Feige in a work session before its regular meeting Monday night. In addition informing the Valdez legislators what types of legislation it hopes to see become law, it also gave the pair a $22.5 million list of projects it hopes to receive state funding for in 2012.

“We decided to be like everybody else,” and ask for a lot of project money from state coffers, City Manager John Hozey said, “We’re not messing around anymore.”

Valdez typically asks for funding for one or two special projects a year, but has received scant state funding in the 2011 Alaska budget. It asked for $12 million for the planned harbor expansion, $3.2 for city sewage upgrades that are state mandated. It also asked for a million dollars or more for port upgrades, city dock improvements, an MRI for the hospital. It asked for lesser amounts to replace the carport at the Senior Center, a backup generator for the police department and atrium upgrades at the Senior Center.

Feige and Coghill were noncommittal.

Packages cramp Post Office

The Post Office in Valdez is in the middle of its usual crush of Christmas parcels according to Post Master Jeff Avery. He is advising post office box holders in Valdez to check their boxes often during regular business hours.

Christmas Eve falls on Saturday this year and Avery says the front counter will be open its usual hours of 10 a.m. until noon. He also said he will play Santa on Christmas Eve and keep the side door open for package pickup only until “about 4 p.m.”

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