By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

Out with the old, in with the new

2013 will bring many changes to Valdez


Photo courtesy Linda Day Guthrie

The brown bear sow on Dayville Road with four cubs carried one of her family members away from throngs of onlookers recently. The large family is seen frequently in the area and officials are concerned that a curious public is endangering the bears and themselves by crowding the grizzly bears.

Looking back on a year gone by has its ups and downs, but we thought it would be more fun to look more at the “ups” that were and write about some of our favorite Valdez happenings from 2012, or look at the humorous side of the downs.

It seems 2012 was so full of booms and busts, and not just in the economy. While it was an amazing year for new small businesses (we hadn’t reported on so much new economic activity in years) the snow cycle last year was both a boom and bust. In January 2012, Valdez hit over 300 inches of snow - almost double the yearly season average. At the end of December 2012, the National Weather Service reported a mere 62.3 inches of snow, 56 inches below average. While both too much snow and too little make for their own economic woes or wows, depending on your circumstance, I can say last year’s snow emergency spawned my personal favorite quote of the year when then-council member Joe Prax said a scheme to declare an emergency was “asinine.”

We agreed.

The upside of all the enforced togetherness was a boom of new born babies last fall.

The school district, which saw its own ups and downs this year, will surely welcome the large influx of extra kindergarteners in five years.

That was a fun story to report.

We are looking forward to a large number of positive events in 2013, especially in the area of infrastructure improvements. While the Mayor’s Beautification Task Force was dealt a blow in some very vocal opposition to a plan calling the creation of a town plaza, other portions of its proposal are very exciting, and here at the paper, we hope our favorite parts of the plan come to fruition. Our favorite is the proposal to build a snow measuring gauge out of pipe which will show yearly snow fall from year to year in actual inches. While it has its detractors, even snow jaded Valdez people will be actually amazed to see just how high 300 inches actually is. Such a move is a tangible point of pride. Touristy, yes, but we’ll all be able to point at it and say yeah, that was a hard winter.

Speaking of pride in the community, there are plenty of improvements in infrastructure in the works or early planning stages to look forward to this year.

While the new carport at the Valdez Senior Center nears completion, the Salmonberry Ski Hill will provide great recreational access, once the snow situation improves. And it will. This is Valdez, after all. Prince William Sound Community College is in the midst of a major overhaul, and the old Gilson Jr. High will be replaced with a brand new middle school.

Heck, we might even see some meaningful movement on a natural gas pipeline and the long overdue new small boat harbor.

Hey, this is Valdez; you can never really tell what will happen.

Check out our website, and tell us your favorite Valdez happening of 2012, and what you hope for the future. We’ll be looking forward to it.

Photo courtesy of Preston Fifarek

Marian Wamsley as she shattered the world record for the one-foot high kick during the Native Youth Olympics statewide meet in Anchorage.


Reader Comments

Icycle writes:

If one looked farther back than a year one could see; 2002 Avalanche Safety for School and Porcupine ST. 1992 Valdez Star began 1982 Valdez All America City Award for grass roots Effort for Softball, Fisheries and a new Dock 1982 Valdez All America City Motorcycle Tour 1972 Gas Line is coming? 1982 Old town was not in the local vocabulary


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