The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

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The annual lighting of the community Christmas Tree took place last weekend, a Valdez tradition held in honor of the late Patricia Haltness. For other annual Christmas community events.

Bazaar, Community Christmas show are this week

While there are numerous Christmas activities and events in Valdez this holiday season, two perennial favorites will be this weekend.

The Emblem Club's Christmas Bazaar, held at both the Eagles and Elks Clubs, is this Saturday, December 7. Doors open for holiday shoppers at 9 a.m. and runs until 3 p.m.

The Annual Community Christmas Show, featuring skits, acts and music by local talent, along with the now-famous Hallelujah Chorus, is at the Civic Center Sunday. Go early, because the free event often fills up before the first curtain rises, and there is no standing room allowed. The show starts at 4 p.m. Sponsored by the Valdez Arts Council.

City council meetings back to back in December

Valdez City Council meetings are normally held the first and third Mondays of each month. This month, meetings will be held on consecutive Mondays, beginning December 9 and then again on December 16.

"They will go back on schedule the first meeting in January," the city's clerk, Sheri Pierce, said.

The December 9 meeting is being held the same night as December's first school board meeting.

The city charter mandates that the council meet at least twice a month.

Gov's open house next week

Alaskans heading to Juneau next week can head on over to the Governor's Mansion after Gov. Sean Parnell and First Lady Sandy Parnell announced Monday that the couple will host its annual open house Tuesday, December 10.

All Alaskans are invited to the Governor's Annual Christmas and Holiday Open House that day from 3-6 p.m.

"More than 24,000 cookies are being prepared for the event, and more than 100 pounds of fudge and chocolate candies will be served," the governor's announcement said. "Members of the governor's cabinet will serve hot apple cider and holiday treats to guests waiting in line outside the residence."

People with special accessibility needs are invited to contact Erika Fagerstrom, at (907) 465-3500, to arrange entry from 2:30-3 p.m.

Parnell declares disaster for November storms

Governor Parnell issued disaster declarations for two separate disaster events in November. The declarations activate State Individual Assistance (IA) for residents impacted by the 2013 Kenai Peninsula Borough Floods and the 2013 November Storms. State IA programs consist of Individual and Family Grants and Temporary Housing Assistance.

Residents within the Kenai Peninsula Borough can apply for damages which were a result of the Oct. 27-28 flooding. Residents within the Bering Strait Regional Education Attendance Area (REAA), Lower Yukon REAA, Lower Kuskokwim REAA, Fairbanks North Star Borough, City of Fairbanks, and City of North Pole may apply for damages incurred during the storm and power outage that took place between Nov. 5 and Nov. 14.

In order to serve the large geographic area and numerous Alaskans affected by these events the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHS&EM) will establish several ways affected individuals and families can apply for IA.

Arming VSPOs is up for public commentary

(AP) The Alaska Department of Public Safety is asking the public to comment on proposed changes that would allow qualifying Village Public Safety Officers to carry firearms while on duty.

Officials say the proposed changes also would specify how VPSOs could qualify.

Public comments will be taken until 4:30 p.m. Jan. 17.

Canceled policy holders can keep old coverage

(AP) Premera Alaska says it will allow 5,200 Alaska customers to keep their health insurance plans.

Alaska Public Radio Network reports the company had canceled the plans for 2014 because they didn't meet requirements of the federal Affordable Care Act.

However, President Obama this month said insurers could offer the canceled plans for another year if states allowed it.

Premera spokeswoman Melanie Coon says customers will have to extend their plans by Dec. 31.

Steve Revis photo

Workers at Silver Bay Seafoods were hard at work with snowblowers Monday, ridding the rooftop of shallow but heavy snow.

She says there are details to be worked out with the state Division of Insurance but Premera will offer the plans.

Native artist sought for festival

(AP) University of Alaska Fairbanks officials say applications are being taken for performers and vendors at the 2014 Festival of Native Arts.

The event is scheduled to take place at the university Feb. 27 through March 1.

The deadline to submit a participation application is Dec. 20.

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