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

 
 

News Briefs

 


More DOT cuts

A number of area road maintenance facilities may only open seasonally or shut down completely in the coming years.

The move comes as a cost cutting measure to address Alaska's fiscal crisis.

The maintenance station on Thompson Pass is on the list of stations under consideration for further reductions.

Rep. Jim Colver said that a public meeting to learn more and give input into the proposed reductions will be held this Tuesday, Jan. 12 from 5-6:30 p.m. at the Valdez Civic Center.

Other Northern Region stations considered for closure or reductions include: Northway, Tok, Kenny Lake, Salcha and Central. Meetings are scheduled in the communities that will be effected throughout next week.

ID standards

(AP) The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has given Alaska an extension to meet national proof-of-identity standards.

The 2005 federal Real ID law imposes tougher requirements for proof of legal U.S. residency for state driver's licenses to be valid for federal purposes. But Alaska hasn't met certain provisions. The Alaska Department of Administration said a state law prohibits state agencies from spending money solely to comply with the federal law.

The extension runs through Oct. 10. Until that time, Alaska driver's licenses and ID cards will continue to be accepted as valid forms of identification at airports and federal buildings.

The state plans to seek another extension next fall, though it's not clear whether it will get one.

Leslie Ridle, a deputy commissioner of Administration, said Tuesday that Homeland Security officials promised they would provide an ample warning if they do not intend to provide another extension.

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Minimum wage up

(AP) Alaska's minimum wage will be among the highest in the country, increasing by a dollar an hour, to $9.75, starting Friday.

The state labor department estimates 12,000 jobs in Alaska currently pay less than $9.75 an hour.

For those working full-time at minimum wage, the department says the increase will mean about $2,000 in additional annual earnings.

Voters in November 2014 approved increasing the minimum wage from $7.75 an hour. The first increase, to $8.75 an hour, took effect in February.

The minimum wage is to be adjusted annually for inflation starting in 2017 and is to remain at least $1 over the federal minimum wage.

In a release, state labor commissioner Heidi Drygas called the increase great news for workers who struggle to make ends meet, and long overdue.

 

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