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

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Valdez Star photo

Over 100 women and their supporters marched through town Saturday morning, showing support for equal rights for all Americans.

Town skiing

Pete Toye, coach of the Buccaneer ski team, helped the high school skiers host the third of its open freestyle skiing competitions that is open to all skiers, the Town Series.

"As always, the Buc ski team thanks the local ski community for providing a little "juice" to our practices," he said in an email after last Saturday's Town Series, which was held despite the 16 degree temperatures.

The team will host its final Town Series Feb. 4.

Last week's results are as follows: Women's competition: Rylee Norris -26:58; Sarah Carter-29:15; Erin Stark & Bowser - 29:27; Taylor Huston-30:31; Angie Alfaro-31:56; Caitlin Connell-32:34; Victoria Korenev-37:15; Grace Keller-39:50; Rowan Miller-41:43. Men's competition: Ben Swanson-34:34; John Banner-41:34;

Will Stark-42:28; Colton Prevost-42:36; Josh Miller-42:55; Chris Cummins-46:40;

Josten Carlson-50:03 .

Rights march

Over 100 women, their supports - and a few dogs - took to the streets of Valdez Saturday, to march in a nationwide show of solidarity with the Women's March on Washington.

Organizers say their numbers swelled to 140 people by the time the march ended.

The messages on signs carried in Valdez focused on preserving civil rights for all Americans under the administration of Donald Trump, who became president after taking the oath of office Friday.

A number of women who marched in Valdez Saturday told the Valdez Star they hoped to send a positive message rather than spread negativity and fear.

The march was held as simultaneous marches occurred across the US, including the Women's March on Washington.

Spill minimal

Diesel spilled after a Big State Logistics truck overturned near Keystone Canyon last week was minimal according to the Alaska Dept. of Environmental Conservation (ADEC.)

A week ago Tuesday, approximately 30 gallons of ultra-low sulfur diesel spilled at Milepost 17.5 of the Richardson Highway after the Big State tanker truck experienced what ADEC described as "a loss of traction, and the secondary tank (pup) initially left the roadway."

The road was closed to traffic for about two hours hours after the incident.

"A tanker truck hauling a main tank and secondary tank heading north on the Richardson Highway experienced a loss of traction..." ADEC said. "While attempting to bring the secondary tank back on to the road, it rolled over on the roadway and onto its side. The secondary tank was compromised resulting in the release of fuel oil."

LNG panned

(AP) A legislative consultant is raising red flags about Alaska taking the lead on a major proposed liquefied natural gas project, even as Gov. Bill Walker has said he's comfortable with it.

Legislators are scheduled to hear a project update Monday.

In a recent report to lawmakers, consultant Nikos Tsafos outlined challenges threatening the project's potential for success.

He says they include a competitive market and a laundry list of tasks the state will need to achieve, such as finding buyers, insulating itself from cost overruns and buying gas at commercially reasonable prices from its former project partners, the North Slope's major energy companies.

Walker says the project will be pursued only if it has long-term customers and not "at all costs."

Unemployment up

(AP) The state labor department says Alaska's unemployment rate ended 2016 at 6.7 percent.

That preliminary, seasonally adjusted rate for December compares to 6.8 percent in November. The rate stood at 6.6 percent in December 2015.

Nationally, the unemployment rate last month was 4.7 percent.

Population up

(AP) Alaska's population is climbing despite the fact that more people are moving away from the state than moving in.

According to a Department of Labor report released Thursday, Alaska's population has grown slightly due to births, though net migration remains down, reported KTOO-FM.

According to Alaska's Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the state's population went up by more than 2,600 people last year. The increase can be attributed to the fact that there were almost 7,000 more births than deaths. The population increases were in the Anchorage and Mat-Su areas.

Net migration - the number of people moving to Alaska minus those leaving - has been on the decline for the last six years.

State economist Neal Fried said the stream of people leaving Alaska isn't entirely to blame on recent economic downturns, as people were leaving before oil and gas prices plummeted, hurting the state economy.

Volcano active

(AP) An Alaska volcano that has been erupting periodically since mid-December has sent up another ash cloud.

Valdez Star photo

Cold weather Saturday did not stop women concerned about civil rights under the new administration from marching through Valdez.

The Alaska Volcano Observatory says Bogoslof (BOH-goh-slawf) Volcano in the Aleutian lslands erupted at 1:17 p.m. Friday.

Pilots report an ash cloud reached 36,000 feet. Ash clouds higher than 20,000 feet are a threat to intercontinental jet aircraft because ash can damage engines.

The aviation color code remains at red, the highest threat warning.

The observatory says prevailing winds pushed the cloud southeast toward the southwest end of Unalaska Island.

A satellite image indicated an ice-rich cloud and possibly lava at the surface near the volcano vent.

Bogoslof Volcano is 850 miles southwest of Anchorage. The volcano also erupted Wednesday and sent an ash cloud to 31,000 feet.

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