Trapping class mandatory in Valdez
Valdez officials are working to spread the word in the Valdez trapping community that is will hold a trappers education course Wednesday, October 30 and Tuesday, November 5 at the Valdez Animal Shelter.
The two-hour safety classes are mandatory for trappers planning on setting lines within the Valdez city limits. The city ordnance mandating a safety class was passed by the Valdez City Council several years ago after officials received numerous citizen complaints regarding pets becoming ensnared in traps, and traps set close to popular trails frequented by young hikers, who could become ensnared if traps are not properly marked.
The ordnance, which also requires proper warning signs among other provisions, had been poorly enforced until last trapping season when city council member Chris Moulton raised the issue after his pet dog got trapped and almost died after becoming ensnared at the neck by an illegally set trap. Trappers looking for more information can contact the Valdez Animal Shelter.
Exxon Valdez records project completed
(AP) The Alaska State Archives has completed its two-year project of sorting through and preserving documents related to the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
The project began in October 2011 and, according to a release, involved appraising and organizing 3,500 boxes of court records. Three staff members organized and catalogued more than 900 boxes for permanent preservation in the State Archives and uploaded a catalog record to an online bibliographic database.
About 2,700 boxes in Juneau were deemed to have no permanent value. Since an aspect of the litigation is still ongoing, the state will wait to dispose of nonpermanent files.
Redistricting hearings pushed back
(AP) A state court judge has pushed back by a month the schedule for possible hearings in the fight over Alaska's redistricting plan.
The continuance was requested by the Alaska Redistricting Board, and unopposed.
The board's lead attorney, Michael White, has been diagnosed with cancer and has been undergoing treatment. Co-counsel Nicole Corr said in court documents that would make him unavailable through November.
Superior Court Judge Michael McConahy had set aside Nov. 7-15 for possible hearings on issues in the case, and set out a timeline that suggested a decision by him by late November.
He's now asked attorneys instead to block off Dec. 9-16, while making clear he would decide on the need for any hearings later.
Initiative backers raising funds
(AP) The group behind an effort to repeal Alaska's oil tax overhaul ended the latest reporting period with nearly $1,600 on hand 10 months before the election.
Vote Yes - Repeal the Giveaway reported raising nearly $5,800 between July 1 and Sept. 30 and spent more than $27,000, with much of that going toward the signature gathering effort and data analysis.
State elections officials announced last month that the referendum had qualified for the August primary ballot. Referendum supporters seek to overturn the oil tax cut passed by lawmakers earlier this year.
Thursday marked the deadline for initiative groups to report third-quarter fundraising to the Alaska Public Offices Commission.
The group behind a proposed initiative to raise Alaska's minimum wage, Alaskans for a Fair Minimum Wage, reported raising about $29,000 from July 7 through Sept. 30. Unions accounted for most of that. The ballot group reported more than $16,000 on hand at the end of the reporting period but also $8,500 in debts associated with signature gathering.
Bristol Bay Forever Inc., which is behind a proposed initiative that would require legislative approval for large-scale mining activity in the Bristol Bay region, reported raising $25,000 for the third quarter. That came from the Renewable Resources Coalition, which opposes the proposed Pebble Mine and has been the major donor to the campaign so far. The ballot group also spent $25,000 as part of its signature-gathering and ended the quarter with just under $1,000 on hand
No free ferry for officers
(AP) The state ferry system has ended a program which allowed uniformed and armed officers to ride for free.
The Ketchikan Daily News reports the Alaska Marine Highway System stopped offering free rides Sept. 30. Previously, Alaska State Troopers and U.S. Forest Service officers could ride the ferries for free as long as they wore their uniforms during the voyage.
The intent was that the presence of an officer on board could provide a restraining influence on unruly passengers.
A transportation department spokesman says the ferry system has been under pressure from state lawmakers and some members of the general public to end free ridership programs. Plus, there could be liability issues for the state