News briefs Oct 3 2012
Valdez Star photo
Some stalwart flowers in Valdez have survived record rainfall and Monday’s frost while Sugarloaf Mountain sports a nice coat of snow. Legend has it that the first snowfall on Sugarloaf means the town will get its first snow in six weeks. Sugarloaf has had snow for several days.
Discrimination suit against school district is dropped
Jacob Jensen, superintendent of the Valdez City School District, announced last month that the Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights (OCR), had closed its investigation of the district regarding a discrimination claim.
It is still unclear who filed the suit and why this district made the investigation public.
In a press release dated Sept. 13, Jensen said, “Due to confidentiality requirements imposed by federal law, the District cannot discuss the matter.”
It did note that OCR made no findings against the district.
“The District cooperated fully with OCR in its investigation,” Jensen said and thanked school staff for its support in the investigation and “its ongoing commitment to a discrimination free educational community.”
September was wettest ever recorded
The Valdez office of the National Weather Service confirmed Monday that last September was indeed the rainiest recorded since recordkeeping began. The town recorded an amazing 26.15 inches of rain in September, 2012, shattering the previous record of 16.69 inches set in 1981. Three daily rainfall records were set, with 3.86 inches recorded Sept. 16, 4.27 inches recorded Sept. 20, and 2.12 inches recorded Sept. 28. It also rained 27 out of 30 days. Thompson Pass recorded 26.66 inches of rain. The weather service said the records for Thompson Pass have not yet been established for summer rainfall.
Bill addresses Japanese tsunami debris
(AP) A proposed federal spending bill calls for the creation of a federal task force to address debris washing ashore from last year's tsunami in Japan.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski's office says the senator was successful in getting the provision added. It would direct the U.S. Interior Department to work with other federal agencies to develop the task force.
Tony Gorman photo
There was something funny going on at the Valdez Civic Center last week during the statewide conference for Alaska superintendents. Valdez City Schools superintendent Jacob Jensen, far right, joked with Mike Hanley, Alaska’s education commissioner, during a break. Dave Herbert, superintendent of St. Mary’s school district, and Rob Thomason, then president-elect of the organization and superintendent of the Petersberg school district, were in on the fun on serious educational topics.
Murkowski has said that it's essential that the Obama administration have a plan for how the U.S. will prepare for and recover from debris as it reaches U.S. shores and waters.
Some can save during insurance Open Enrollment period
(AP) SEASON FOR CHANGE: Between October and November millions of workers will have the opportunity to make changes to their health insurance benefits. More than half of U.S. employees estimate they waste up to $750 per year on poor open enrollment decisions.
SIMPLE LANGUAGE: Employees may be able to make smarter decision this year by referring to new, standardized summaries that explain key details about insurance plans. The requirement, passed as part of the Obama administration's health care overhaul, is designed to make it easier to compare policies.
STAY FIT, SAVE MONEY: More than 80 percent of large employers now offer wellness programs designed to keep employees healthy while cutting medical expenses. Wellness programs often include gym memberships, quit-smoking programs and stress management classes.