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

News Briefs


Superintendent Jim Nygaard

New super takes helm at VCS

Jim Nygaard officially took over the superintendent's position for Valdez City Schools May 19 and took full reign of the district's operations this Monday.

Dr. Lisa Stroh, who had held the position since last summer, saw her last day with the district Friday.

"Her last day was the 23rd," said Flynn Stuparich, assistant to the superintendent. "Jim Nygaard is the superintendent."

Earlier this year Stuparich herself had notified the district she would be retiring at the end of the current school year, but later reconsidered her actual retirement date.

Stuparich said the district has temporarily discontinued its search for a new assistant to the superintendent - a position which also acts as administrative assistant to the board of education – until later this year.

She said her new retirement date will be October 15.

Wood harvesting gets regulated in city

The Valdez City Council passed an amendment last week that will require wood harvesters on city owned land to obtain a permit from city hall.

The move came after a number of complaints, where people had cut down and hauled away trees on city property, including wooded areas around public parks.

It turns out that fire wood harvesting on city-owned property was not addressed in the city code and officials were unable to properly regulate or control people who were harvesting fire wood, despite complaints by the public.

Avoid common road hazards this summer

DOT and VPD are reminding drivers of vehicles and ATVs of basic safety regulations.

The Alaska Dept. of Transportation issued its annual safety warning for Alaska drivers last week, and warned that Alaska State Troopers will be heightening enforcement of seatbelt laws.

"Local law enforcement has begun issuing tickets and will be on the lookout statewide," DOT said.

DOT also reminds drivers to drive the speed that is safe for road conditions, which may be less than the actual posted speed limits. This is especially critical when driving through construction zones or when approaching "animal jams," areas where large numbers of vehicles are either parked haphazardly on shoulders and other drivers may be rubbernecking, paying more attention to the spectacle than to other vehicles. Driving with headlights on 24/7, checking weather conditions on 511 before road trips and alerting family members when you are leaving and when you expect to return are also included in DOT's alert.

Locally, Valdez police are reminding ATV operators about the law. A recent press release by VPD states that "... it is legal to operate ATVs on City streets only and not on State maintained roadways. Also the ordinance requires that while operating an ATV on city street(s) you must wear a helmet, obey all traffic laws and be validly licensed."

Forest Service gets new Alaska head

(AP) A forest supervisor from Idaho has been named the new deputy regional forester for Alaska.

Becky Nourse (pronounced nurse) is scheduled to start in her new job July 28. She said she will be based in Juneau.

Nourse will succeed Ruth Monahan, who retired in early May.

Alaska Regional Forester Beth Pendleton, in a release, said Nourse is well-versed in the issues and lifestyle of Alaska, having spent 14 years of her career on the Tongass and Chugach national forests.

Nourse has been based in Idaho as the forest supervisor for the Sawtooth National Forest. But she currently is on a temporary assignment as acting deputy regional forester for the Intermountain Region in Utah.

Photo courtesy Jim Colver

There was little information available about this rollover spotted May 12 at Mile 48 of the Richardson Highway.

Ulus vex visitors, Alaska TSA in luggage

(AP) The summer tourist season is arriving in Alaska, and the U.S. Transportation Security Administration is reminding passengers that a popular Eskimo-style, half-moon-shaped knife isn't allowed in carry-on bags.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that visitors to the state often forget that the knife, known as ulu, is banned like all other knives. The TSA has gone so far as to create special placards for the Fairbanks International Airport, displaying a picture of an ulu with a line through it.

Fairbanks daily air traffic is expected to jump from about 1,000 to 1,500 people in the next few weeks. Although it's early in the season, the local TSA collection already has four ulus, all new in their original packaging.


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