Valdez Star photo
USCG Commander Benjamin Hawkins, left, was part of a public meeting held in Valdez last week by the Alaska Regional Response Team. Capt. Daniel Travers, right, explained details of proposed revisions to allow limited pre-authorization of oil dispersants in predetermined areas of Alaska in the event of another large-scale oil spill.
Man dies of gunshot wound
Valdez man Shawn Michael Feagin, age 28, died Monday of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound according to Valdez police.
Emergency responders were called to Simmons Trailer Court and found Feagin "suffering from a critical gunshot wound to the chest," a police press release said. "The Fire Department transported Feagin to Providence Valdez Medical Center where he was pronounced deceased."
Valdez Police are investigating the case and the Medical Examiner is conducting an autopsy and reviewing the case according to law enforcement officials.
"Based on the physical and scene evidence and witness statements, investigators believe the gunshot was self-inflicted," police said. "Alcohol was involved."
Oil spill dispersants preauthorization sought
The public is invited to weigh in on proposed changes to 1989s Oil Spill Prevention Act that, if approved, would "preauthorize" the use of oil dispersants in a predetermined area outside coastal waters of Alaska according to ARRT, the Alaska Regional Response Team.
Representatives from the US Coast Guard, NOAA, ADEC and other agencies presented the proposal to interested Valdez parties last Wednesday, seeking public input.
Written comments on the proposed changes will be taken until February 14, 2014, AART says.
ARRT is a group made up of numerous state, tribal, federal and local authorities along the Alaska coastline that would be responsible for overseeing crude oil cleanups in the event of a crude oil spill in Alaska's offshore waters.
More information on the meeting, the draft proposal and other methods of submitting commentary can be found on the group's website, http://www.alaskarrt.org.
College sponsors first Winterfest
Organizers from Prince William Sound Community College are sponsoring an event organizers are called its first annual Winterfest.
"Winterfest is designed to be an annually recurring winter celebration to get students and the community at large excited, equipped, and prepared for another epic winter season," the college said.
The first part of the event is slated for Saturday, December 7, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Valdez campus. The bottom half of the event begins at 5 p.m. and will take place at the Fat Mermaid on N. Harbor Dr. for "Valdez Adventure Film Night," featuring local outdoor adventure short films and then a showing of the feature film "The Steep Life" from Dean Cummings of H2O Guides, and "High Ground," a film by Emmy award winning adventure film director, Michael Brown.
Booths for local vendors, outfitters, outdoor educators, and appropriate government agencies will be featured earlier at the college and organizers say there will be other activities, including children's snowshoe races and a scavenger hunt, challenge games, and a silent auction.
"The day will culminate with the Winterfest Gauntlet, a wild adults-only event filled with slips, falls, snowballs, and snowshoe racing action," the college said. "Winterfest promises to be a great event for the community."
Contact DB Palmer at Prince William Sound Community College for more information.
Guidelines issued for renewing canceled policies
(AP) Insurance companies that sent cancellation notices for policies that won't meet requirements of the federal health care law have until Dec. 31 to file and extend those policies in Alaska.
State insurance director Bret Kolb said Friday that if carriers opt to do this, coverage would be extended one year under the existing policies.
He said by email that the division is working with companies operating in Alaska but did not say if any indicated that they wanted to extend existing plans, recommending instead reaching out to the individual companies.
A spokeswoman for Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield said that company is working through the issue with the division. Moda Health, meanwhile, announced Friday that it would extend existing individual and small group policies in Alaska through 2014.
Valdez Star photo
Sheila Jordan of CVTC, was busy playing Santa at the Valdez Post Office Friday, getting an early start on setting up this year's Angel Tree. The Christmas tree helps match Christmas donors with needy youth in Valdez and the Copper Basin.
Premera and Moda also are the companies offering plans for Alaska that are compliant with the new law on the federally facilitated online insurance marketplace.
Last week, President Barack Obama said insurers could continue offering into 2014 plans that would otherwise be canceled, though state insurance commissioners would get to decide what plans could be sold in their states. Companies would have to inform those who want to keep their plans about protections not included in those plans, and companies would not be allowed to sell to new customers policies that don't meet requirements under the law.
Gov. Sean Parnell, who has been a vocal critic of the law, said last week that he wanted to see that Kolb _ in weighing how to move forward _ would work to make sure Alaskans had a greater choice in plans and more affordable options. Parnell said what's at play with the law is ``government dictating to Americans what health care plans they have to have. I want Alaskans to make that determination for themselves,'' he said.