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

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Source: City of Valdez

A plat of the land owned by ADOT and occupied by Aleutian Trailer Park that the City of Valdez hopes to acquire in the ongoing effort to keep area residents in their homes.

Road closure

The City of Valdez says Fairbanks Dr will be closed Saturday to facilitate a ski race.

The road closure we "between City Hall and the Library" on March 4.

The closure will run between 8 a.m. until 1p.m. during the Frosty Fever Giant Ski Race.

Aleutian update

City administrators are continuing to move forward with a proposal to acquire the state-owned property where the Aleutian Village Trailer Park is located.

Owners of mobile homes in the park have been left in limbo since the Aleut Corp. - the entity that leases the land from the state's Dept. of Transportation - notified park residents and mobile home owners in August of 2015 that it was closing the park and issued eviction notices for all mobile homes.

The City of Valdez stepped with an eye towards keeping the park open or creating a new subdivision on the land that is located adjacent to the airport on the corner of the Richardson Highway and Airport Rd.

Population upped

The city's official population will remain unchanged from last year's estimate according to Lisa Von Bargen, the city's director of economic development.

Von Bargen told the Valdez City Council last week that the State of Alaska had determined that the city's population count would remain the same as last year's count of 4,011 people - 72 more than the state had estimated in January.

Von Bargen had originally recommended to council that it drop efforts to appeal the state's lower number. However, she said at the last council meeting in February that the state had agreed to accept last year's population estimate as valid for 2018.

The population numbers are important to the city because state laws dictate the amount of property tax a municipality can collect and spend based on population. Von Bargen pointed out that population numbers also determine the town's share of state revenue sharing.

Muskowski's stand

(AP) Alaska U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski has staked out positions that could put her at odds with fellow Republicans and the Trump administration, saying she won't vote to defund Planned Parenthood or to repeal expanded Medicaid.

Murkowski told a joint session of the Alaska Legislature on Wednesday that she won't vote to deny Alaskans access to health care services provided by Planned Parenthood. But she said taxpayer dollars shouldn't be used to pay for abortions.

She also said thousands of Alaskans have benefited from expanded Medicaid under former President Barack Obama's signature health care law. As long as the state Legislature wants to keep expansion, Alaska should have that option, she said.

Murkowski previously broke ranks with Republicans in voting against Betsy DeVos for education secretary. DeVos was approved on a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence.

Abortion rules

(AP) The Alaska State Medical Board has proposed new regulations prompted by a lawsuit from abortion-rights advocates who argue that existing rules restrict second-trimester abortions.

The proposals, among other things, would repeal a requirement that a physician consult with another doctor before performing an abortion after the 12th week of gestation.

They also state that from the point a fetus is considered viable, an abortion can only be done at a hospital with a neonatal intensive care unit. That would replace an existing rule requiring that blood and an operating room staffed and equipped for major surgery must be immediately available for abortions performed during the second or third trimesters.

SAS lawsuit

(A) A lawsuit filed against a drug task force in southeast Alaska challenges the seizure of personal property by law enforcement and seeks more transparency in the search warrant process.

KFSK-FM reported Monday that Petersburg Borough residents Danny Thompson and Greg Richeson are suing the borough and Southeast Alaska Cities Against Drugs.

The men allege authorities entered their homes during separate investigations in 2013 and seized computers, guns, electronics and other personal items. They claim the items were not returned for years, although the investigations did not result in any criminal charges.

The lawsuit seeks to change Alaska court rules that keep search warrants sealed for four years if no criminal case is filed to allow people who have had their property seized to view the records.

Borough Attorney Timothy Bowman says the lawsuit doesn't have merit.

Kennedy Stamp

(AP) The U.S. Postal Service unveiled a new stamp last week to mark the 100th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's birth.

The Forever stamp was released Monday during the annual Presidents Day family festival at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston.

The future president was born in Brookline on May 29, 1917, the second of Joseph and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy's nine children.

Piracy up

Valdez Star photo

The future Aleutian Village Trailer Park - and the people who live there - is still uncertain.

(AP) A private watchdog says counterfeit goods, software piracy and the theft of trade secrets cost the American economy up to $600 billion a year.

In a report out Monday, the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property says the annual losses range from about $225 billion to $600 billion. The theft of trade secrets alone costs the United States between $180 billion and $540 billion annually.

The findings echo those of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which in 2015 pegged the annual cost of economic espionage by computer hacking at $400 billion.

The commission labels China the world's No. 1 culprit. Including Hong Kong, China accounts for 87 percent of counterfeit goods seized entering the United States. The report says China's government encourages intellectual property theft.

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