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

News Briefs


Steve Revis photo

Terrence Korenev of Valdez was behind the wheel of the small pickup that landed in the drink Monday after swerving to avoid semi truck crossing the road.

Tsunami test warnings to resume in Valdez today

Weekly city-wide testing of the tsunami warning sirens will resume in Valdez today according to the city clerk's office, which also acts as the city's public information office. Emergency officials had suspended the regular testing schedule in the weeks following the late January avalanches on the Richardson Highway that caused numerous flood warnings and stopped all road traffic in and out of town.

"Now that the event is over, testing will resume" beginning Wednesday Holly (Powers) Wolgamott, assistant city clerk, said in a press release. "In addition to the standard weekly test, the Valdez Police Department will be testing each site individually."

The familiar Winchester Chimes sound tone will be used.

Wolgamott said additional testing will occur between the hours of 4:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. as well. Regular weekly tests at 5 p.m. on Wednesdays will resume Feb. 26.

Questions or comments regarding the weekly testing can be directed to the clerk's office by contacting Valdez City Hall.

Walker to report campaign finances to APOC

The campaign for Bill Walker's independent bid for Alaska Governor said it would report over $200,000 in campaign contributions to the Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC) Tuesday. The campaign said in a Monday press release that "..nearly 900 contributions came primarily from Alaskans in over 40 communities. Almost one-third of the donations were $100 or less."

The campaign press release stated that $29,000 came from Walker himself, saying it reflected his "personal financial commitment to the campaign of $29,000 which he considers to be an investment in the future of Alaska. "

Second shot at designation official state firearm

(AP) Sen. Charlie Huggins is taking another shot at designating an official state firearm.

SB175 would make the pre-1964 Winchester Model 70 bolt-action rifle in a number of different calibers the official state bolt-action rifle.

The bill says that to be an Alaskan between 1930 and 1963 meant carrying the "rifleman's rifle,'' the Winchester pre-1964 Model 70. It says the rifle helped Alaskans "establish a firm foothold in the untamed and often wild Alaska wilderness."

The bill is somewhat different from one introduced by Huggins in 2011 and later withdrawn.

That earlier proposal would have made the pre-1964 Winchester Model 70 .30-06 caliber rifle the official state firearm.

Bill would pay PFD checks of felons to victims

The Senate State Affairs Committee has advanced a bill calling for the annual state oil wealth disbursement checks of those incarcerated to go first toward victim compensation.

The bill sponsored by Sen. Fred Dyson, R-Eagle River, clears up who has priority to such Permanent Fund Dividend checks, as well as creates a reliable funding source for the Violent Crimes Compensation Board.

``This is one of the more significant things I've done,'' said Dyson who has served in the Legislature for nearly 20 years and will be retiring at the end of his term. ``There are a lot of victims out there this will help.''

The bill passed unanimously Thursday, with the committee's three Republicans and one Democrat voting in favor. There was no opposition voiced at the hearing.

Felons and certain misdemeanor offenders have been ineligible by law to receive Permanent Fund Dividend checks since 1988.

The forfeited PFD checks were meant to fund victim compensation, but in 2012, the Violent Crimes Compensation Board received only 1.5 percent of court-ordered restitutions.

Photo courtesy Robert Huston

Educators, from left, Ann Groeneveld, Sue Reiss, Lucia Hedman display a $300 donation its union, the Valdez American Federation of Teachers, recently donated $300 to Valdez Food Bank.

Dyson said since 1988 other statutes have been added into law regarding the dividing of the forfeited PFD checks among various state entities resulting in the Violent Crimes Compensation Fund being underfunded.

SB104 puts the Victim Compensation Board first on the list in receiving the forfeited funds followed by child support, rehabilitation program payments and coverage of any additional costs with that individual's incarceration.

The bill also officially labels the fund the PFD Criminal Fund. The phrase is currently being used for accounting purposes only. It will be administered through the Office of Management and Budget.

The bill now goes to the Senate Finance Committee. It faces several more legislative hurdles, but Dyson says he feels confident that his proposal has enough support to eventually become law.


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