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

News Briefs


Photo courtesy Valdez Parks and Recreation

Darryl Verfaillie, director of parks and rec, was on last Thursday when the city department handed the Valdez Food Bank a check for $902.50. The donation was as part of last summer’s Fish Art contest and auction. Verfaillie said a total of $1,805.00 was raised and split evenly between the food bank and the Valdez Fish Derbies.

No oil tax repeal ex gov says

(AP) Former Gov. Bill Sheffield says repealing changes to Alaska's oil tax structure would be a mistake.

Sheffield spoke Sunday at the Sitka Historical Society.

The Sitka Sentinel reports that in brief remarks, the 84-year-old former governor says he favors retention of the tax measure that will be up for repeal by initiative next year.

The law gives major tax breaks to oil producers with the goal of increasing production.

Sheffield says the law is not perfect but can be made better.

He says oil revenue curtailment of oil production will have harmful effects on the Alaska economy.

Sheffield was elected governor as a Democrat in 1982. He served one term.

He says he's promoting construction of a 36-inch natural gas pipeline from the North Slope to southcentral Alaska.

Legislature to debate Facebook

(AP) Lawmakers plan to revisit the issue of allowing access to Facebook from legislative computers.

In an email to lawmakers, aides and others, Legislative Council chairman Mike Hawker said the committee plans to take up the issue at an Oct. 30 meeting, with the goal of setting a final policy.

He said that while the issue has come up in the past, the council has not taken testimony from legislators or agency heads who have requested access.

Those individuals will have a chance to testify at or provide written testimony for the meeting in Anchorage.

Three Bears coming to Chugiak

(AP) Three Bears, a combination grocery store and warehouse, is opening its eighth store in Alaska.

The Chugiak location, a 50,000-square-foot building, is expected to open by June, the Chugiak-Eagle River Star reported.

The chain closed a Valdez store in 2006.

Three Bears is a full grocery store that also sells sporting goods, household items, alcohol and pet supplies. It also offers Costco bulk products, but will sell them in smaller quantities.

The chain attempts to be user-friendly by placing complementary items, like cereal and milk, adjacent to each other, said Steve Mierop, Three Bears vice president and chief financial officer.

``We want to make it a great experience for our customers,'' he said.

The chain has three stores in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, two in Tok and one each in Seward and Kenai. The new location is expected to create up to 80 jobs, and Three Bears will now employ more than 500 people.

Mierop said each location is tailed to the community it serves.

``We'll have ethnic products in one store that we won't necessarily have in another because there's a demand in a particular community,'' he said.

The Chugiak store is being built on land owned by Eklutna Inc.

Alaska tourism ads on TV

(AP) Commercials encouraging tourists to visit Alaska are appearing on broadcast television for the first time more than three decades.

Four ads promoting tourism in Alaska, including a first-ever commercial dedicated solely to winter travel, are being rotated during morning and evening news shows on ABC, NBC and CBS.

Kathy Dunn, the state's tourism marketing director, says it's exciting to be back on network television.

The ads one network TV are running about $1.2 million. Overall, the state's budget is $6 million.

The last time a state tourism ad was on national broadcast television was one commercial during the 1982 Super Bowl, a placement that cost the state $324,000.

Dunn says an ad for the next Super Bowl would cost $3.8 million.

Military drill loud in Delta

(AP) It might get a little noisy during the night in the Delta Junction area.

Officials at Fort Wainwright say there will be night training exercises have been scheduled. They started Monday and will continue through Nov. 7 on the Donnelly Training Area.

The training will go from 10 p.m. through 6 a.m., and will include artillery and mortars.

Officials in a release say area residents may hear and feel explosions and see aerial flares.

The training will include soldiers from both Fort Wainright and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage.

Women’s Summit held in Anchorage

(AP) A two-day summit last week in Anchorage aimed to find ways to improve the lives of women in Alaska.

Valdez Star photo

Newly reelected council member Mike Wells was unanimously elected to be Mayor Pro Tempore by fellow city council members Monday night. The Mayor Pro Tempore acts as city mayor when the elected mayor is unavailable for official duties.

The state's first Women's Summit was organized, in part, by state Sen. Lesil McGuire, who last year commissioned a report on the status of women in Alaska in areas like housing, wages, mental health, domestic violence and health care.

The report found on average that Alaska women are paid less than women in the rest of the U.S., imprisoned at higher rates and have a higher rate of suicide. But the summit also was meant to highlight the achievements and business successes of women, KSKA reported Thursday.

Alaska's first lady, Sandy Parnell, called women ``the state's underdeveloped natural resource.''

``We are in the land of opportunity with a solid economic foundation and state initiatives promoting jobs and strong families,'' she said. ``So, here's the paradox: While women are making great strides in a great land, many more struggle, their potential unrealized.''

Parnell called domestic violence, sexual assault and child sexual abuse ``the greatest barriers to Alaska women achieving their potential.''


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