May 15, 2013 | Vol. 25 Edition 20

News Briefs

High School lunch cut to half hour

Valdez Star photo
Incoming superintendent Dr. Lisa Stroh on her first Valdez visit in April.

Students at Valdez High School will have to make due with a shorter lunch period when they return to classes next school year after the board of education approved principal Dr. Elizabeth Balcerek’s plan to cut lunch period down to half an hour. In a brief discussion Monday night, the proposal passed unanimously; board member Anita Fannin was absent.

Balcerek pushed for the change citing a need to increase classroom time combined with the demands from the community that the school crack down on the portion of the high school’s population that did not use time wisely with the school’s open campus and longer lunch period.

According to Balcerek, Valdez High School students will begin school at 8:10 a.m., the time shaved off of the lunch period will be added to classroom time.

“We’ve looked at 55 minute class periods,” Balcerek told the board.

The campus will remain open, providing students have a signed permission slip from parents; consequences for irresponsible behavior off campus during lunch will be addressed and put into policy before school reopens in August.

New superintendent contract approved

The board of education unanimously passed the wording for the new superintendent’s contract Monday night during its regular meeting. The board hammered out final details of the contract in a work session that was open to the public before voting at the regular meeting.

The contract is for two years with a third year renewal option and pay Dr. Lisa Stroh $125,000 per year, beginning July 1. It calls for 260 service days of work and excludes overtime pay for the administrative position. It also pays a moving stipend of either a $15,000 lump sum payment, or reimbursement of moving expenses for up to $20,000 providing receipts are supplied to the district.

Rep. Feige hires Desorcie

Former PWSCC president Doug Desorcie is returning to Valdez as a staff member of Rep. Eric Feige. Desorcie made the announcement in person a week ago Monday during the Valdez City Council meeting.

Desorcie is working out of the Valdez Legislative Office (LIO) in Valdez in the state building on Meals Ave. In a press release, Feige (R-Chickaloon) said having Desorcie on his personal staff will allow him to better communicate with Valdez voters. District 6 encompasses parts of the Mat-Su Valley, through the Glenn Highway to Glennallen, south to Valdez and north on the east side of the Richardson Highway, north into the Fairbanks North Star Borough.

Clean up on a week night

The annual Community Clean Up in Valdez is late in coming this year due to the late season snow depth. The event will be held on a Thursday (May 30) from 1-7 p.m. and organizers are keeping their fingers crossed that enough snow will be melted to allow public places to be cleared of debris; they are also hoping the public will be able to participate in the event, which is usually held on each spring on a Saturday.

City manager John Hozey said organizers were forced to look at a weekday event after early May dates were scratched because deep snows did not allow for access; late May weekend dates clashed with Memorial Day weekend, Military Appreciation and other community events.

Public works director Larry Weaver is encouraging the public to get out and help clean up both public and private properties. He is asking that brush and fallen trees not be left at curbsides for pickup. Also, properties with large amounts of rubbish or large items should contact the baler and schedule a pickup.

Defibrillator stolen from Civic Center

The automated external defibrillator (AED) at the Valdez Civic Center was reported stolen to Valdez police last Wednesday. The medical device was on hand to use for emergency resuscitation in the event someone suffered heart failure at the public use facility.

The placement and use of AEDs have increased dramatically in recent years and have been credited with saving many lives.

“It disappeared sometime last week,” Civic Center employee Tabitha Swierk said in response to a telephonic enquiry made by the Valdez Star Monday afternoon.

Valdez police are investigating the theft. The Valdez fire department has kindly asked that whoever barrowed the expensive emergency medical device return it immediately.

Delay off to West Point summer school

Chris DeLay, a junior at Valdez High School, will be attending the Summer Leaders Experience (SLE) at West Point, the prestigious military academy, this coming June . A press release said DeLay is one of 500 accepted into the program, which saw 4,000 applicants.

Delay is the son of Valencia Hiebert and Terry DeLay of Valdez.

TAPS readies for shutdowns

(AP) Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, the operator of the trans-Alaska pipeline system, has announced several planned shutdowns for maintenance.

Alyeska said the first shutdown is scheduled for Friday. It is set to last four hours to allow for valve maintenance along the 800-mile line, which ends at the Valdez Marine Terminal.

An Alyeska press release also announced maintenance shutdowns for June 8, June 30, July 8 and Aug. 9. The longest of these are expected to last 18 hours.

Alyeska says it conducts maintenance shutdowns each year to allow time to work on projects along the pipeline and at the terminal.

The shutdowns typically coincide with the routine maintenance schedule for equipment and facilities by the North Slope oil companies.

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