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

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Ferry system delays new rules for kids

(AP) The Alaska state ferry system is delaying implementation of a new policy that would require child passengers to be accompanied by authorized adults.

State transportation department officials say numerous people contacted the agency about difficulties the policy would create for families who have already scheduled travel, particularly for the holidays.

The policy was scheduled to take effect Nov. 20. It would have required passengers under 18 to be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or an adult with notarized authorization from the child's caretakers.

Officials say the current policy will remain in place for now. The policy has different rules for minors, depending on their age, but allows people 16 or older to travel without restriction.

Spokesman Jeremy Woodrow says any future policy change would be announced long before implementation.

Alaska rapes high

(AP) Alaska led the nation in rapes per capita last year, according to statistics released by the FBI, and a revised definition of the crime means the numbers are grimmer than before.

The FBI in data collected from Alaska law enforcement agencies counted 922 rapes last year, a rate of 125.4 per 100,000 residents. The rate is three times the national average, the Alaska Dispatch News reported.

The previous definition of rape included only female victims. The FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting program now includes all genders. It also reflects the nonconsensual acts of sodomy and sex assaults with objects, said Kevin Donovan, assistant special agent with the Alaska FBI.

Under the old definition, the number of rapes in 2013 would have been 644. The new definition provides the FBI with a more accurate understanding, Donovan said.

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Veterans input needed

(AP) Alaska officials are seeking input from veterans in a needs assessment project with the University of Alaska Anchorage.

Department of Military and Veterans Affairs officials say they are working with UAA's Institute of Social and Economic Research to identify top issues for veterans through a survey.

Officials say the surveys were sent to 3,000 Alaska veterans and another 1,900 were sent to veteran posts for distribution.

The ISER survey is sponsored by the Alaska Office of Veterans Affairs. Officials say veterans' identities will be confidential and used to generate reports.

Office of Veterans Affairs director Verdie Bowen says such a needs assessment has never been done by the state.

 

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