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

News Briefs


Steve Revis photo

Valdez had a rare visitor Thursday when a Sitka black-tailed deer was spotted wandering along the Duck Flats. The doe probably swam to Valdez from one of the many islands in the area, where large deer populations thrive. Deer are not indigenous to the Valdez area.

Oil spill dispersant changes up for discussion

Draft revisions to 1989s oil dispersant guidelines will be the topic of discussion today (Wednesday, November 20) at a public meeting to be held from 1-5 p.m. by the Alaska Regional Response Team, or ARRT.

ARRT is a regulatory group made up of members of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, the US Coast Guard and other entities.

According to ARRT, the revisions will "outline the process to be used following an oil discharge in Alaska, when dispersant use is (sic) being considered in a Preauthorized Area or in an Undesignated Area."

Comments on the proposed draft will be taken according ARRT, as well as an educational component.

Written comments on the proposed changes will be taken until February 14, 2014, ARRT says.

More information on the meeting, the draft proposal and other methods of submitting commentary can be found on the group's website,

Fleener to guest on Coffee Break

Craig Fleener, who is running for Lt. Governor as an independent candidate with running mate Bill Walker, will make a guest appearance on KCHUs call-in talk show Coffee Break this Friday.

The show airs on 770 AM Friday, from 9-10 a.m. and welcomes listeners to call in and question its guests live on the air.

Fleener was named Walker's running mate October 14 when the two hosted a press conference from Fairbanks.

Whittier ferry ramp reopens

Ferry service to Whittier will resume Thursday, November 21 according to the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT).

Dot made the announcement Monday following what is said is the completion of repair work to the Whittier ferry terminal ramp.

"The M /V Aurora will sail a revised 4-day per week schedule from Nov. 21-29," DOT said in a press release. "Beginning Dec. 1, the vessel will sail the previously posted 6-day per week winter schedule. An updated schedule is available online at"

DOT said ferry service to Whittier was suspended in late August when an electrical failure resulted in a mechanical breakdown of the mechanism that raises and lowers the ferry terminal ramp. ADOT&PF was able to locate and install temporary parts in an effort to restore ferry service this fall.

"The department will install newly manufactured parts next spring and keep the used parts as back up should a similar event, while extremely rare, ever occur again," DOT said.

DOT says it oversees 254 airports, 11 ferries serving 35 communities, 5,619 miles of highway and 720 public facilities throughout the state of Alaska.

Parnell declares disaster zones

(AP) Governor Sean Parnell has declared coastal western Alaska areas ravaged by storms state disaster zones.

The governor made the announcement Saturday evening after meeting with residents in the Northwest Arctic Borough, Bering Straits Regional Education Attendance Area, and Lower Yukon.

A series of storms battered the areas earlier in November with powerful winds, strong seas and freezing rain and snow.

The governor's office says that the declaration opens access to state disaster relief funds to repair infrastructure and some homes.

The governor held a town hall meeting in Kotlik where concerns included the well-being of the elders and lost food stores. Kotlik was among the worst hit as the storm damaged the water and sewer distribution system.

In Unalakleet, officials have said that several homes were damaged by surging sea waters and a section of pipe carrying untreated water to the treatment plant was damaged.

Feathers in art need clarification Alaska lawmakers say

Craig Fleener is running for Lt. Governor with running mate Bill Walker, an independent gubernatorial candidate.

(AP) Two members of Alaska's congressional delegation have introduced bills that would clarify that it's OK for Alaska Natives to sell artwork adorned with bird feathers.

Under the legislation introduced by Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Rep. Don Young, some traditional Alaska Native art and crafts would be exempt from a provision of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act barring the sale of items containing the feathers and non-edible parts of migratory birds.

The issue began receiving attention after Archie Cavanaugh, a well-respected Tlingit artist, was fined $2,200 for trying to sell a headdress adorned with feathers online, the Anchorage Daily news reported ( ). Native artists can use feathers in traditional handicrafts as long as they are not hunting the birds to get them, and some sales are allowed, but Murkowski said the law is unclear at best.


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