News Briefs from Valdez and Alaska
Tony Gorman photo
The line began forming well before 6 p.m. Tuesday for the mass flu shot drill. A total of 359 inoculations were given according to George Keeney, Valdez fire chief.
Broker resuming enrollments after site fixes
(AP) A broker established to help sign Alaskans up for health insurance under the federal health care law has resumed enrollments through the online marketplace.
Enroll Alaska late last month said it was suspending such enrollments after discovering subsidy calculations were incorrect.
U.S. Sen. Mark Begich said he had been assured that as of Monday morning, the calculations were fixed. Enroll Alaska's chief operating officer, Tyann Boling, said the broker received confirmation Tuesday.
She says the website functions much better than it had and she's optimistic Enroll Alaska will be able to sign up a large number of Alaskans this year.
She says the broker, which enrolled just three people through the site before suspending enrollments, was able to enroll someone, start to finish, in 20 minutes after the site fixes.
APOC asked to weigh in on independent campaign
(AP) The Alaska Public Offices Commission is being asked to decide whether Bill Walker and Craig Fleener can run as a joint campaign.
Walker, who finished second in the GOP gubernatorial primary in 2010, plans to run for governor as an independent next year. He has chosen former deputy Fish and Game commissioner Craig Fleener as his running mate.
Both men must get just over 3,000 signatures to qualify for the November 2014 general election ballot. The nominating petitions for both offices ask the candidates to identify their running mates.
The campaign's legal adviser, Lindsay Hobson, said in her request for a formal opinion this is clearly a joint campaign, and neither candidate can go forward without the other.
The commission is expected to take up the issue next week.
Valdez Star photo
Members of the Valdez City Council toured the inside of the new middle school which is still under construction on Robe River Drive. Contractors beat the snow in covering its top-side, which will allow winter work to continue inside the building during winter months. The project is ahead of schedule and there are high hopes the new school will be ready for students after Christmas vacation 2015.
Old texting while driving ban invalidated
(AP) The Alaska Court of Appeals has found a former law was ambiguous with regard to whether it banned text messaging while driving.
The decision comes in the case of Tyler Adams, who in 2011 was charged with texting while driving. Magistrate Jennifer Wells granted Adams' request to have the case dismissed, citing unclear language in the law.
While some lawmakers said they intended to ban texting while driving with the 2008 law, the appeals court, in a memorandum opinion, found the legislative intent in that regard was ambiguous "at best." The law referred to driving with a "screen device operating" but didn't mention text messaging.
Legislators in 2012 amended the law to spell out circumstances in which someone would commit the crime of driving while texting.