Valdez Star photo
DOT’s culvert replacement project on the Duck Flats began Monday, with temporary traffic lights controlling traffic on the last portion of the Richardson Highway into downtown Valdez. Contractors with Harris Sand and Gravel began controlling traffic Monday with minimal delays - so far.
Japanese natural gas consortium eyes Valdez
Valdez Mayor Dave Cobb said representatives from the Japanese natural gas buying consortium REI will be visiting Valdez this coming Tuesday. The visit is supposed to be low key according to Cobb, who is also a board member of the Alaska Gasline Port Authority, the group made up of representatives from Valdez and Fairbanks North Star Borough formed by its representative voters to build or “cause to be built” a wide diameter natural gas pipeline from the North Slope to Port Valdez.
“They say Valdez is the place to come,” Cobb said when discussing the matter with the Valdez City Council Monday night during its regular meeting. “They say the market is there.”
The group has continued its efforts to bring Alaska’s natural gas reserves to market in the state and for export to Asia, despite various state sponsored gasline schemes passed by the Alaska legislature in the past decade, such as the Palin-era AGIA legislation and this year’s HB4.
Relief from No Child Left Behind
(AP) The Obama administration has approved Alaska's request for a waiver from provisions of the federal education law No Child Left Behind.
In 2011, the administration announced it would let states avoid certain requirements, like students showing they're proficient in reading and math by 2014, if other conditions were met. Those conditions included states imposing their own standards to prepare students for college and careers and setting evaluation standards for teachers and principals.
Alaska applied for a waiver last year.
Critics of No Child Left Behind call it a one-size-fits-all approach to education that doesn't fit Alaska's needs.
The U.S. Department of Education says it has approved waiver requests from 37 states and the District of Columbia so far.
Tony Gorman photo
The Last Frontier Theatre Conference registration and information table was busy Monday, as Alaska’s premier event for playwrights continued to welcome attendees for a week of playlabs, performances and workshops.
The latest approvals, announced Monday, were for Alaska, Hawaii and West Virginia.
Alaska’s unemployment rate plummeting
(AP) Alaska's unemployment rate continues to fall, hitting a preliminary 6 percent last month.
That would be the lowest the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has been in Alaska since June 2007. Unemployment stood at 6.2 percent in March and 7 percent in April 2012.
Nationally, unemployment was 7.5 percent last month.
State labor department economist Caroline Schultz cautioned against reading too much in the month-to-month movement of the rate. But she says the rate indicates Alaska has fully recovered, in terms of its employment, from the recession of several years ago and its aftermath.
Schultz says she would be surprised, however, if unemployment continued to decline at the current rate.