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

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Power meetings

Copper Valley Electric Association is telling its members to mark their calendars for this year's annual membership meeting.

"The 2017 meetings will be held in May, instead of April," CVEA said on its website. "The Copper Basin meeting will be on Tuesday, May 2, and the Valdez meeting will be on Thursday, May 4. Both meetings will begin at 6 pm. Mark your calendars!"

Information on running for a seat on the CVEA board is also available online or at the CVEA offices in Valdez and Glennallen.

"The deadline to submit nominations is Friday, February 24, 2017," CVEA said.

Job losses

(AP) State analysts predict Alaska will lose thousands of jobs this year as it continues to deal with the effects of low oil prices.

The Alaska Department of Labor estimates the state will lose about 7,500 jobs in 2017, a little more than 2 percent of its total workforce, The Ketchikan Daily News reported.

Economist Caroline Shultz said in the state's annual job forecast report that there will be widespread reductions in service industries that rely on consumer spending. Alaskans will hold on to more of their dollars this year because of lower wages and less confidence in the state economy, she said.

Southeast Alaska is expected to lose 1.7 percent of its jobs this year, compared to the state's 2.3 percent, according to Juneau-based economist Conor Bell.

Analysts predict most of the 600 job losses in southeast Alaska will be in state government and construction, but those in the region's health care and tourism industries are expecting to see growth.

Volcano alert

(AP) An active Alaska volcano has erupted again, this time sending a cloud of ash and ice 35,000 feet in the air.

The Alaska Volcano Observatory said the explosion from the Bogoslof Volcano in the Aleutian Islands occurred Thursday and lasted about five minutes.

Observatory geophysicist Dave Schneider says there have been more than 10 eruptions since mid-December.

Thursday's eruption prompted the observatory to issue its highest alert for aircraft. But the Federal Aviation Administration says the volcano had no immediate effect on flight operations.

The volcano is located about 850 miles southwest of Anchorage.

Feds ding two top credit reporting agencies

(AP) Federal regulators have ordered credit-reporting agencies TransUnion and Equifax to pay about $23 million for falsely advertising that the credit scores they sell consumers are the same ones lenders use to make credit decisions.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced Tuesday that TransUnion and Equifax must pay fines totaling $5.5 million and return about $17.6 million to wronged consumers. The agency also said the two companies lured consumers into payments of $16 or more per month for credit scores and related products such as credit monitoring.

TransUnion, based in Chicago, and Atlanta-based Equifax Inc. are two of the three major credit-reporting agencies in the U.S., along with Experian. The credit scores they generate are used to determine whether consumers can qualify for a mortgage, a car loan, a cellphone plan and a range of other loans.

The reporting agencies base the scores on a consumer's history of paying off debt, how much debt they carry and other factors.

The CFPB said the scores sold to consumers by TransUnion and Equifax were not typically used by lenders to make credit decisions.

The alleged violations occurred between July 2011 and March 2014, according to the agency.

Children costly

(AP) Expecting a baby? Congratulations! Better put plenty of money in your savings account.

The Department of Agriculture says the estimated cost of raising a child from birth through age 17 is $233,610, or as much as almost $14,000 annually. That's the average for a middle-income couple with two children. It's a bit more expensive in urban parts of the country, and less so in rural areas.

The estimate is based on 2015 numbers, so a baby born this year is likely to cost even more.

Since 1960, USDA has compiled the annual report to inform budget-preparing parents. State governments and courts also use the information to write child support and foster care guidelines. The main costs include housing, food, transportation, health care, education, clothing and other miscellaneous expenses.

Trump's businesses

(AP) President-elect Donald Trump pledged to step away from his family-owned international real estate development, property management and licensing business before taking office Jan. 20. With less than two weeks until his inauguration, he hasn't stepped very far.

Trump has canceled a handful of international deals and dissolved a few shell companies created for prospective investments. Still, he continues to own or control some 500 companies that make up the Trump Organization, creating a tangle of potential conflicts of interest without precedent in modern U.S. history.

Source: CVEA.ORG

A one-year breakdown of the variable charges for CVEA members.

The president-elect is expected to give an update on his effort to distance himself from his business at a Wednesday news conference. He told The Associated Press on Friday that he would be announcing a "very simple solution."

Ethics experts have called for Trump to sell off his assets and place his investments in a blind trust, which means something his family would not control. That's what previous presidents have done.

Trump has given no indication he will go that far. He has said he will not be involved in day-to-day company operations and will leave that duty to his adult sons, Eric and Donald Trump Jr. The president-elect has not addressed the ethical minefield of whether he would retain a financial interest in his Trump Organization.

 

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