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

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Flags at local, state and federal buildings were at half staff Friday through Tuesday by order of Gov. Bill Walker. The flags were lowered in remembrance of the victims of last week's school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas.

Torpedoes hit it

The Torpedoes Swim Club had a stellar season according to boosters.

The club's swim report for the season says: In 2018 the team sent one swimmer to the Senior Championship meet in Fairbanks, eight swimmers to the Alaska Age Group Championship meet in Juneau, two swimmers to the Northwest Regional Age Group meet in Seattle, and five swimmers to the Alaska Junior Olympics meet at Bartlett pool in Anchorage. All of these meets have different qualifying times.

The last meet of the year, Junior Olympics Championships, held at Bartlett pool hosts the fastest swimmers in the state. This year the Valdez Torpedoes Swim Club had ten swimmers qualify for a range of events. Five swimmers elected to go and compete, representing Valdez -and came away from the meet ranked 12th out of 22 teams competing.

School safety

(AP) Gov. Bill Walker plans to release in September details of an effort to address safety in Alaska schools.

He made the announcement during a news conference in Anchorage that was focused on public safety initiatives and came the same day as a deadly shooting at a Texas school.

Walker began looking at the issue of school safety after a deadly school shooting in Florida in February.

He says his administration is looking at potential gaps in school safety. He says school emergency plans also are being reviewed.

He says the administration has gotten input from students and teachers.

Walker in March attended a student-led rally on the steps of the state Capitol aimed at drawing attention to concerns about school safety.

Pilot named

(AP) Alaska State Troopers have released the name of the pilot killed in a crash near Whittier.

Troopers say the man killed was 31-year-old Brett Andrews of Anchorage.

The Rescue Coordination Center notified troopers that an emergency locator transmitter had been activated in the Whittier area a week ago Saturday.

Crews on RCC and Coast Guard helicopters found the crash site and confirmed the pilot was dead.

A trooper helicopter and members of Alaska Mountain Rescue Group reached the crash site that Sunday morning and recovered the pilot's body, which was released to the state medical examiner.

Reds in Seattle

(AP) More than 16,000 pounds of Copper River salmon arrived at SeaTac Airport early Friday morning.

KOMO reports that three more Alaska Airlines flights were inbound from Cordova, delivering an additional 48,000 pounds of salmon to the market, where it will then be delivered to restaurants and grocery stores across the country.

The arrival of fresh Copper River king and sockeye salmon is a rite of spring in Seattle where the fish are prized for their flavor. They typically bring the highest prices at restaurants and fish markets.

Job losses

(AP) The state of Alaska has lost jobs for 31 straight months, a period of job losses that the state labor department says has lasted longer than the recession of the 1980s. But the department says the `80s recession hit harder.

Alaska's unemployment rate stood at 7.3 percent in April, the same level it has been all year so far.

The preliminary, seasonally adjusted rate for April compares to 7.1 percent in April 2017.

The state labor department says the unemployment rate has slowly climbed since 2015 and is slightly above the 10-year average of 7.2 percent.

Nationally, the unemployment rate last month was 3.9 percent, its lowest level since 2000.

New Ferry

(AP) The construction of a new Alaska state ferry is nearing completion.

The Ketchikan Daily news reports the 280-foot ferry Tazlina was lowered into the water for the first time Wednesday and checked for possible leakage.

The vessel is being built by Vigor Alaska in Ketchikan. The ship is nearly complete and scheduled to be christened in July.

Vigor is building two Alaska ferries, the Tazlina and the Hubbard, at a shipyard in Ketchikan.

Both originally were set for delivery in October 2018, but Vigor doesn't think it will meet that deadline for the Hubbard.

Specific routes and start dates for the ships remain under consideration.

Pot board lagging

(AP) The number of applications for marijuana business licenses is outgrowing the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office's approval process.

There are 467 applications being processed with another 46 businesses set for inspection, according to a Marijuana Control Office spreadsheet dated May 8.

Valdez Star photo

Valdez held its annual spring cleaning last weekend, where citizens are encouraged to get out and help clean up litter that accumulates under winter snows.

Brandon Emmett of the Alaska Marijuana Control Board, which oversees the office, said there is discussion of making Marijuana Control Board meetings longer to deal with the backlog of applications and also to manage the need to revise state regulations.

Emmett also said raising application fees could help cover the cost of hiring more staff.

"At the last meeting, we actually approved a couple of licenses that were just waiting for the meeting," Emmett said. "They had everything done for quite some time."

The Alaska Marijuana Industry Association and the Marijuana Control Board requested more state funding from the Legislature for the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office, but the request was denied, Emmett said.

Officials are working to develop regulations for on-site consumption. The marijuana board is also reviewing testing, shipping and packaging regulations as issues arise, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.

 

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