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

News briefs February 8 2012


Valdez Star photo

The Coast Guard housing complex on Hanagita – now abuzz with normal activities – was heavily targeted by thieves in a series of burglaries two weeks ago. Police in Anchorage have a suspect in custody on unrelated charges.

Burglaries still under investigation

Valdez police are still investigating the rash of burglaries that hit Valdez in late January.

“We’re still putting the case together,” Valdez Police Chief Bill Comer said in an interview Tuesday morning. “The case will be completed,” and handed to the district attorney early next week.

Last week, Comer said police were pursuing at least two persons of interest in the ongoing investigation; one unnamed individual is still in custody of Anchorage officials and being held on a probation violation.

“One has consequently been remanded on probation violations,” Comer said last week.

A large number of stolen items have been recovered and will be returned to their rightful owners, pending approval of the district attorney’s office, Comer said.

The investigation began when two burglaries were reported to police January 24, with at least 16 reports flooding the department the next day.

The Coast Guard Housing at the end of Hanagita was hard hit, as well as other locations around Valdez.

“There will be some charges filed,” Comer said.

Murder One: Clay Starbuck arrested

Former Valdez man Clay Starbuck was arrested in Deer Park, Wash. Monday, and charged with first degree murder in the strangulation death of his ex-wife, Chanin Starbuck. The former Valdez woman was found dead in her Wash. home Dec. 3, 2011, causing shockwaves through Valdez, where the family lived for many years before leaving the area. The former couple reportedly divorced in July, 2011.

According to published reports from numerous news sources in the area, Starbuck had been under intense scrutiny from law enforcement officials after details of the couple’s contentious divorce emerged during the investigation.

She was the mother of five children that range in age from 10 to 21.

CVT shuffles positions

Photo courtesy of VHS

The VHS Student Council and “Truly Scrumptious Cupcakes” won a competition between the school principals of Valdez High School and Gilson Junior High. The VHS team sold and delivered 180 cupcakes to earn $1,000 to donate to United Way. Left to right: VHS principal, Dr. Elizabeth Balcerek, Wyatt Duncan, Anna-Grace Jefferies, Shyanna Rich, Superintendent Jacob Jensen, Gretchen Kuchin.

Mitch Vieu has been promoted to Senior Manager for Telecom Operations and Shilah Butler has been promoted to Senior Manager for Affiliate Operations for the Glennallen offices of Copper Valley Telecom, the co-op announced in January. Vieu will be responsible for all of the company’s wireline operations, telecommunications network, and engineering. Butler will have responsibility for CVT’s affiliate wireless and Internet companies, quality control, and plant records. Mark Shorten has been promoted to the Glennallen Plant Superintendent. In Valdez, Chris Mishmash has assumed the day to day management of Cooper Valley Wireless facilities and operations in addition to his current responsibilities for the company’s maintenance and purchasing activities Tabitha Gregory has been promoted to Chief Customer Relations Officer. Gregory will be responsible for customer care, marketing and sales. Sheila Reiswig has been promoted to Customer Service Supervisor. Sue Moeller has transferred from Copper Valley’s Customer Service Department to the Engineering Department.

The moves came in preparation of the upcoming retirements of key personnel according to a press release issued by CVT.

VHS raises funds for United Way

Dr. Elizabeth Balcerek, principal of Valdez High School, says she was pleased as punch when VHS students won a friendly wager made with Gilson Jr. High in a quest to see which student body could raise the most funds for United Way. The VHS Student Council, selling “Truly Scrumptious Cupcakes” won the competition after selling and delivering 180 cupcakes to earn $1,000 to the cause.


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