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

News Briefs

 

November 29, 2017

Steve Revis photo

Sen. Dan Sullivan, left, made a visit to Valdez last week and made time to meet with a handful of constituents during a lunch hour at Mike's Palace on N. Harbor Dr. Rep. George Raucher, the Valdez representative in House District 9, accompanied Sullivan.

Bazaar time

Get ready to shop, Valdez: the annual Christmas Bazaar is this Saturday.

The Valdez Emblem Club #514 Christmas bazaar is December 2, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. according to organizer Agnes Hansen.

The biggest single day shopping event in Valdez will take place at the Eagles Club and Elks Club, as in past years.

The Valdez Senior Center, which in past years held its holiday sale at the same time, will be holding its Holiday Bazaar a week later, on Saturday, December 9.

Anyone with questions about the Emblem Club Bazaar can call Agnes Hansen at 255-5841.

The Valdez Senior Center is accepting donations for its sale. Contact the center at 835-5032.

Correction

(AP) In a front page story Nov. 22 about a group's report about the state ferry system, The Associated Press reported erroneously the name of the organization. It is the Southeast Conference, not the Southwest Conference.

A report by an Alaska regional development organization indicated that the success of the state ferry service could hinge on repairing the troubled relationship between its management and labor force

Earthquake

A sudden jolt rocked Valdez Monday afternoon when a 5.1 earthquake was reported by the Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer.

The shaker was short but sharp.

There was no tsunami warning issued after the event, which occurred Monday at 1:18 p.m.

The center posted short facts about the earthquake minutes after it occurred.

The shaker was centered 55 miles southwest of Valdez at a depth of 21 miles.

TSA rules

(AP) New screening procedures have been put in place for carry-on baggage at Alaska's largest airports.

The Transportation Security Administration announced last week that passengers will be required to place all electronics larger than a cellphone in X-ray bins, KTUU-TV reported. Previous procedures only required laptops to be placed in the bins.

"The electronics should be placed in a bin with nothing on top or below, similar to how laptops have been screened for several years," a security administration statement said.

International airports in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau are already using the new procedure and every airport statewide is expected to follow suit by mid-December.

The Department of Homeland Security earlier this summer announced the procedure changes, which will be mandatory at every airport in the country by next spring.

Administration spokeswoman Lorie Dankers said the new protocol is part of a larger effort to stay ahead of the "evolving threat against the aviation system worldwide."

"As passengers become more familiar with these procedures, we trust they will be a great partner with TSA in carrying out the aviation security mission," Dankers said.

Liquids, gels and aerosols containing less than 100 milliliters (3.4 ounces) are still permitted if inside bags that must be placed in bins for screening.

It was hotter

(AP) Scientists say the Arctic warmed at a higher rate than previously estimated, refuting the concept of a climate change hiatus between 1998 and 2012.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that in a new study published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Nature Climate Change, scientists analyzed temperature data collected from buoys drifting in the Arctic Ocean to create a more accurate average.

Xiangdong Zhang, who is a scientist at the University of Alaska's International Arctic Research Center, and his colleagues collected the new data set of global surface temperatures, which led to changing the assumption of a slower warming rate.

Zhang says the rate of global warming continued to rise at 0.112 degrees Celsius (0.2 degrees Fahrenheit) per decade. He says the data confirms that warming did not pause.

VA care

(AP) The Alaska agency that provides health care services to all veterans in the state is planning to expand its workforce.

The agency is looking to expand its staff from about 550 employees to 650, Alaska Veterans Health Care System Director Dr. Timothy Ballard said.

Ballard met last week with staff at the Kenai VA clinic where he hosted a town hall for veterans, the Peninsula Clarion reported.

President Donald Trump's administration increased the Veterans Affairs budget by about 6 percent, which provided Alaska with the funds to hire more workers, Ballard said.

The hiring focus will be on primary care physicians, but the agency will also hire support staff to help it continue tackling long wait times that Alaska veterans have complained about, he said.

The agency needs more physicians so it can avoid reimbursing non-VA hospitals that veterans might have to go to when appointments are booked. Paying back those outside clinics is a significant expense for the agency.

Last year, the Alaska VA health care system purchased about $130 million in care, Ballard said, adding that the agency probably could have saved about $10 million if it had more physicians.

Avalanche death

Source: Tsunami Warning Center Palmer

(AP) Alaska authorities have released the name of a skier who died in an avalanche.

Alaska State Troopers say 60-year-old Randall Bergt of Anchorage was killed in the avalanche last week.

Troopers say they were notified around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday of the avalanche in the Hatcher Pass area in which a skier was missing. Hatcher Pass is a glacial valley near Wasilla, that's a favorite with recreational skiers and snowboarders.

Medical and rescue crews were dispatched to the scene. At the time of the avalanche, three skiers had been in the area.

The missing skier was found but efforts to revive him were unsuccessful.

 

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