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

 
 

News Briefs

 

Photo courtesy Bob Benda

The four cygnets hatched out near the swan pond on the Richardson Highway were spotted on Robe Lake last week, with the remaining parent swan still on guard. The fast-growing swans lost a parent to a speeding truck last summer, and their fans are happy to see the family is still intact.

Parnell plans for possible Ebola outbreak

(AP) Gov. Sean Parnell says Alaska is at low risk for Ebola infections but he says the risk is real and the state is taking steps to be prepared.

Parnell held a news conference Thursday in Anchorage that included the state's chief epidemiologist, Joe McLaughlin, and epidemiologist Michael Cooper.

He said a task force has been created to coordinate planning and preparedness and that he's asked for regular updates. Parnell also said the health department has been directed to continue activities with health care facilities that include training and exercises.

Cooper said there has long been a quarantine station at Alaska's largest airport, in Anchorage, for infectious illnesses. He questioned the efficacy of enhanced screening for Ebola at airports, given that people can develop systems up to 21 days after exposure.

U.S. Sen. Mark Begich has asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to make Ebola test kits available in Alaska as a precautionary measure. Earlier this week, he also called for the need for frequent communication with the public to ensure accurate information is available.

Guard leadership shaken again after scandal

Another round of changes in the senior leadership of the Alaska National Guard were announced Monday, hot on the heels of an ongoing investigation into the organization's administrative handling of allegations of sexual assault and other misconduct.

The Dept. of Military affairs said Governor Sean Parnell ordered what was described as transitions of leadership after a report from the National Guard Bureau's Office of Complex Investigations found that victims did not trust the system because of a lack of confidence in the command. In response, Parnell asked the leader of the Guard to resign.

Brig. Gen. Mike Bridges met with three leaders in key positions to notify them of personnel changes involving them, effective immediately, it was announced. Based upon the totality of the OCI report and findings, the governor directed the following actions:

Brig. Gen. Catherine Jorgensen is removed from her position as chief of staff and land component commander for the Alaska Army National Guard. Acting Army chief of staff is Col. John Woyte.

Brig. Gen. Donald S. Wenke is removed from his position as the commander of the 176th Wing, Alaska Air National Guard. Assuming command of 176th Wing is Col. Blake Gettys.

Col. Edith Grunwald is removed from her position as the director of human resources for the Alaska National Guard. Acting director of human resources is Lt. Col. Emma Thyen.

Sullivan cash heavy

(AP) Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan raised more money than Democratic Sen. Mark Begich during the latest fundraising quarter.

Sullivan raised $2.8 million for the period, which includes $264,000 reported in a July pre-primary filing. Begich reported raising $1.9 million, which includes $423,000 from the July report.

Begich and Sullivan each ended the quarter with about $1.2 million available. Sullivan reported $43,000 in debt, which the campaign said was from the primary.

The race's outcome could help decide control of the U.S. Senate. Republicans, hoping to pick up six seats nationally, consider Begich vulnerable.

Begich spokesman Max Croes says Begich has the cash and on-the-ground resources to make a strong push to the election.

Sullivan spokesman Mike Anderson says Sullivan's fundraising shows Alaskans are excited to support his candidacy.

Second candidate omitted from voting pamphlet

(AP) A candidate statement from a Fairbanks state senator is absent from the state informational pamphlet sent to voters, but he's not blaming the Division of Elections.

Photo courtesy Shannon Major

A youngster receives an oral dose of the flu vaccine Saturday during the town's annual vaccination drill. A total of 319 flu shots were administered according to the city clerk's office.

Republican Pete Kelly tells the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner he missed messages from the Elections Division for submitting a statement and called too late to make its deadline.

He's running against Democrat Tamara Kruse Roselius.

The Division of Elections sends two letters to notify candidates of the opportunity to be in the pamphlet - most of the time.

The division acknowledges it failed to send proper notification to independent gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker.

He was not included in the pamphlet sent to voters two weeks ago. The division printed and sent a supplemental pamphlet for gubernatorial and lieutenant governor candidates early last week.

 

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