Credit card policy updated by board
The board of education for Valdez City Schools updated its credit card policy Monday night.
"The policy is going on a year old," Jim Nygaard, the district's superintendent, said during Monday night's meeting.
Nygaard told the board that the district's auditors spurred the change in policy, which calls for annual reviews of credit card expenditures.
Last year, a school employee reported to auditors that the previous superintendent had charged a meal on a school issued credit card and while also receiving per diem for the district-sanctioned travel.
The new revision specifically prohibits this usage.
The board of education grilled Nygaard regarding credit limits.
"We can charge $15,000," Nygaard said - this is also the maximum amount he is allowed to spend before he must get board permission for any expenditure.
Nygaard said the school district is increasing its use of credit cards to take advantage of the power of online purchases versus traditional procurement methods.
Amber Cockerham, the district's finance director, said the district also accumulates frequent flyer miles as a bonus for using credit cards, which also saves the district money.
Permanant fund grows by $1.6 billion
(AP) The value of the Alaska Permanent Fund reached $52.8 billion following better-than-expected investment returns, a gain of $1.6 billion over the prior year.
The preliminary, end-of-fiscal year figure was released by the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. on Thursday, and reflects the value after accounting for a $1.4 billion transfer for the annual dividend paid to most Alaskans.
The corporation reported that the fund's investments gained 4.9 percent for the fiscal year ending June 30.
Acting executive director Valerie Mertz called it a solid performance, given the volatility in the market. The corporation had reported double-digit increases the prior two years.
The fund, which had been set up as a nest egg for the state using some of Alaska's oil revenue, has a broad portfolio of investments.
Valdez Star photo
Caitlin Auble contributed to the good times on the city dock last Saturday during the Richardson Highway Rendezvous, a music festival that doubles as a fundraiser for KCHU public radio and the Friends of the Valdez Animal Shelter.
(AP) New data from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services suggests that the use of electronic cigarettes in the state is increasing as tobacco use is falling.
The Alaska Dispatch News reports that Alaska Division of Epidemiology bulletin released Thursday found that e-cigarette use rose from 1 percent in 2010 to 4 percent in 2013, the latest data available. Tobacco smokers have decreased from 24 percent in 1996 to 21.9 percent in 2013.
DHSS officials say that though the percent of e-cigarette users is still small, the fast uptick in popularity over such a short period is significant.
E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that convert flavored liquids that often contain nicotine into inhaled aerosol.