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

News briefs


Tsaina Lodge held Grand Opening

An all new Tsaina Lodge has been rebuilt and opened its doors to a full-fledged grand opening party Friday night. The new owners, Jeff and Ingrid Fraser, razed the old lodge, bar and buildings and over the winter built a plush, 24-room lodge aimed directly at the heli-skiing industry. Watch for full coverage of the history of the Tsaina Lodge, past and present, in an upcoming edition of the Valdez Star.

Sixth graders to Jr High?

Sixth graders in Valdez could transition to Gilson Jr. High School in the 2012/13 school year if a plan proposed district administration passes muster with the board of education. Administrators proposed transferring the incoming sixth grade class at Hermon Hutchens Elementary School to Gilson Jr. High in a budget presentation made to the board March 5. The proposal was made as a cost saving measure after administrators announced a $570,000 deficit in its $14.7 million-plus budget for next year. The school has a current enrollment of 98 seventh and eighth grade students. Projections say adding sixth graders to next year’s enrollment will put the school’s population at 140 students. Rod Morrison, principal at Gilson Jr. High, said the school is prepared to educate sixth graders if the board approves the plan, which had not been reviewed at the time of the meeting. “I believe we can deliver better programs for sixth grade than they’re getting now,” he said. Public budget hearings on the 2012/13 budget are slated for March 22 and 31.

Buccaneers named to All-State teams

Lady Buccaneers Caitlin Auble and Alex Derifield were named to the second All-State basketball teams for their accomplishments in this year’s high school basketball season. On the boys’ side, Buccaneer Glacier Rohrer was named to the third All-State team. The honors top off the VHS athlete’s season that ended during Aurora Conference Regionals in Fairbanks two weeks ago.

Latham injured in snowmachine accident

Alaska State Troopers say Valdez man Christopher Latham was injured March 5, in a snowmachine accident near Tonsina at Mile 79 of the Richardson Highway. A trooper dispatch says the agency was contacted at 7:48 p.m. with a report of the accident. “…Latham, age 41 of Valdez, was operating a red 2002 Polaris 550 southbound in the northbound lane when he struck a snow berm on the east side of the highway and was pinned beneath the snow-machine,” Troopers said. “Passing motorists removed the snow-machine from Latham, who was not wearing a helmet.”

The dispatch said alcohol was a factor in the accident, but no charges have been filed against Latham, who was treated for unspecified injuries at Crossroads Medical Center in Glennallen after receiving treatment by EMTs.

Valdez Heli-Camps closed for season

Valdez Star photo

On average, small commercial customers will see a 3.4 percent increase in monthly electric bills according to Copper Valley Electric Association, which presented its proposed tariff changes in a poorly attended meeting at the Civic Center Thursday night. A rate study conducted by CVEA is spurring the changes, which will give most residential customers a slight decrease to monthly bills.

A. Matt White, owner of Valdez Heli-Camps in Valdez, posted this notice on the company’s website: After 16 years of providing safe and fun Alaskan skiing experiences. For the first time Valdez Heli-Camps is cancelling a ski season. After a trying last few weeks and months in this difficult year seeking alternatives to the complete cancellation of the 2012 season, we have come to this decision. We would like to thank all of the wonderful people that participated in the company as guests, employees and supporters of all kinds to date. I am deeply saddened by this decision and sincerely apologize to any who are adversely affected by our late cancellation. After considering all the pressures of continuing in a changing Alaska operating environment, in the end I could not justify further efforts and investment maintaining our current organization standards with its high commitment to safe and legal operations in the unregulated market. We will seek alternatives for reorganization or liquidation in the coming year and prior to the 2013 season. All customer commitments scheduled to expire in the 2012 will be extended concurrently with those outcomes.


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