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

News Briefs


Dentist charged with sex assault

Glennallen dentist Kevin Shedlock, age 43, was arrested a week ago Tuesday, charged with four felony counts of sexual assault after Anchorage police investigated allegations reported to law enforcement last August. The four counts, all class B felonies, stem from an incident that allegedly occurred in Anchorage on August 26.

Shedlock, of Copper Center, is employed as the only dentist at the Wrangell Mountain Dental Clinic, a program ran by the Copper River Native Association, according to Tony Gorman, KCHU public radio news director.

Court records dated September 25 state that Shedlock’s bail was set at $50,000 with a third party custodial requirement.

School board meets Thursday

The board of education for Valdez city Schools canceled its regularly scheduled meeting of October 14, but will take up significant issues at a special meeting at 5:30, this Thursday, October 3 at the Valdez High School library.

“On the third, on Thursday, basically what we’re going to do is swear in the new (board members), “ Lisa Stroh, district superintendent, said Monday. The board will also discuss its budget request it will present to the City of Valdez, and present a first reading of proposed changes to board’s policy regarding how it extends the length of meetings if need be. A full agenda of the special meeting was posted on the district’s website Monday at .

Redistricting hearings set for November

(AP) The judge overseeing challenges to Alaska's redistricting plan has set aside time to tentatively hear arguments in the case.

Numerous motions are currently pending before Superior Court Judge Michael McConahy, but he says it's not yet clear whether an evidentiary hearing will be needed on any issue.

In a written order he said he wanted to give parties time to plan accordingly, should a hearing be needed. That's why said he had reserved full trial days from Nov. 7 through Nov. 15, though any hearing might not require all that time.

McConahy, in late August, said he would like to have all issues in the case resolved within 90 days, suggesting a decision by late November.

DNR names acting commissioner

(AP) Joe Balash has been named as the acting commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources.

Gov. Sean Parnell announced the appointment in a statement a week ago Tuesday.

The position became vacant Tuesday when Commissioner Dan Sullivan's resignation became effective. There is speculation Sullivan may run for the U.S. Senate.

In his resignation letter to Parnell last month, Sullivan said he intends to seek ways to serve his fellow Alaskans as he explores ``new opportunities and challenges'' in the next phase of his life.

The governor's office says Balash has been deputy DNR commissioner, and before that was a special assistant to the governor for energy and natural resource development issues.

Congress approved funds for legacy Wells

(AP) Congress has approved legislation providing $50 million to clean up abandoned oil and gas wells on current or former National Petroleum Reserve land.

Most of that money is expected to end up in Alaska, where state officials and Alaska's congressional delegation have been pushing for the cleanup and reclamation of old well sites in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management manages the reserve, where more than 130 wells were drilled under the federal government's direction as part of an exploratory oil and gas program from the 1940s to the 1980s.

BLM this week released a plan identifying 50 abandoned wells in the Alaska Arctic that it believes require cleanup by the agency. Of those, 16 were deemed high-priority sites.

Addressing one well alone can cost millions of dollars. BLM-Alaska has said it has secured about $86 million to plug 18 legacy wells in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska since 2002.

President Barack Obama, in his budget plan, had proposed temporarily halting revenue-sharing payments to Alaska from oil and gas development in the reserve. Instead, they would divert the payments to a new fund that would supplement BLM spending and address BLM projects, including the cleanup of legacy well sites. U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski called that plan ``dead on arrival.''

Photo courtesy APD

Kevin Shedlock

The $50 million is expected to come over about five years from the sale of crude helium under the Helium Stewardship Act, which passed the Senate on Thursday after passing the House a day earlier. Murkowski said Thursday that she fought ``tooth and nail'' to get that language included, with some colleagues wanting to put all the money from the helium sale to deficit reduction. Murkowski said she wants to reduce the deficit, but she believes the government has obligations to address.

Her office said the bill also extends the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination program, which provides $16 million for roads and schools for southeast Alaska communities. It also provides funding for deferred maintenance projects in the National Park system.


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