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

News Briefs


Photo courtesy Linda Guthrie

Fourth grade students from Hermon Hutchens Elementary School spent the second day of school last week at the Salmon Turnaround, catching spawning Chums for the annual egg-take. Retired biologists help the kids capture the fish which are then artificially spawned. The roe is then incubated in the classroom through the school year, with a fry release in the same location occurring before the last day of school.

Super offered three year contract

Jim Nygaard, superintendent of Valdez City Schools, took a step closer to securing a long-term contract with the district.

The board of education on Monday tasked board members Alan Sorum and Dolores Gard to begin negotiations with Nygaard to secure a three year contract.

Nygaard was hired by the board towards the end of the last school year to act as an interim superintendent. The move came under the brief tenure of Dr. Lisa Stroh, who was released from her contract to take a position with the Petersburg school district after serving the Valdez district for eight months.

Nygaard is widely seen as a unifying force in the district, which was often described as tumultuous during Stroh's brief tenure.

Ferry schedule up for public review

The 2015 summer ferry schedule for the Alaska Marine Highway System is up for public review according to a press release issued Monday by DOT.

"This is an opportunity for communities to review and comment on the proposed schedule in consideration of community events," the press release said.

The pending schedule can be viewed online at

DOT said a teleconference to hear comments and consider adjustments is scheduled for Thursday, September 25 at 10:00 a.m. for Southeast Alaska schedules and 1:30 p.m. for Southwest and Southcentral Alaska schedules.

The toll free number to participate in either teleconference is: 1-800-315-6338, conference code 03902#. The conference code was revised by DOT early Monday morning.

Written comments will be accepted through Sept. 23 Written via email at and by fax at 907-586-8365.

Unions back new Walker/Mallott ticket

(AP) Alaska labor leaders on Thursday overwhelmingly endorsed the newly formed team of Bill Walker and Byron Mallott in the governor's race, with the president of the Alaska AFL-CIO saying the bipartisan ticket is the best choice.

``This is unparalleled, and I think in the country, to have a situation like this where one party is basically giving their support on an independent ticket,'' Alaska AFL-CIO President Vince Beltrami said at an afternoon briefing with reporters. ``That type of excitement, I think, is going to help our members get more engaged than they otherwise would.''

Affiliate organizations representing 60,000 labor workers in Alaska overwhelmingly voted for the endorsement. Beltrami said only a few of the 52 executive council members who participated abstained from voting. He declined to say exactly what the vote count was, other than there were no ``no'' votes.

Walker dropped his Alaska Republican Party membership earlier this week and reregistered as undeclared. It was a move stipulated by the Alaska Democratic Party's central committee when it voted overwhelmingly Monday to endorse Walker as governor and Democrat Mallott as lieutenant governor.

Walker, 63, had been running as an independent. Mallott, 71, won last month's Democratic primary election for governor.

The combined ticket is expected to provide a stronger challenge to Republican incumbent Sean Parnell.

Parnell email raises eyebrows

(AP) Republican Gov. Sean Parnell's re-election campaign says a vendor mistake resulted in a political fundraising appeal being sent to state government email addresses.

Spokesman Luke Miller said this happened after the campaign had requested, and been assured, that any governmental email addresses would be suppressed from the mailing list.

Democrats seized on the incident, with the party's executive director, Kay Brown, saying it is wrong for Parnell to use state resources to ``promote his campaign.''

Last year, the campaign reported that political emails urging recipients to check out Parnell's campaign page on Facebook were inadvertently sent to some governmental, education and legislative addresses. Campaign manager Jerry Gallagher reported that to the Alaska Public Offices Commission.

ARB must pay attorney fees

(AP) A state court judge has ordered the Alaska Redistricting Board to pay more than $310,000 in attorneys' fees and costs to the Fairbanks-area plaintiffs.

Attorneys for George Riley and Ronald Dearborn had requested nearly $440,000, including about $120,000 in appellate fees. But Superior Court Judge Michael McConahy said he was unaware of any authority he had to award fees for work done in a different court.

McConahy subtracted out other requested costs, as well.

He ordered the board pay about $296,000 in attorneys' fees and nearly $17,000 in costs.

NATO group studies arctic issues

(AP) A group that advises NATO on science and technology was in Alaska late last week to study Arctic issues, including climate warming.

Valdez Star photo

Future Buccaneers will have a new pirate-themed playground on the park strip. Volunteers were slated to begin completion of the project Tuesday evening, with a possible opening for this Wednesday. Arrgh matey!

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported about 30 members of the Parliamentary Assembly Science and Technology Committee on Thursday were in Fairbanks.

NATO is a 28-member group of military allies in Europe and North America.

The science and technology committee includes lawmakers from NATO countries.

Committee members heard presentations at the University of Alaska Fairbanks on effects of climate change, including the possibility of Arctic shipping routes.

The chairwoman of the committee, Baroness Meta Ramsay of Great Britain, says Alaska was a clear choice to visit for information on Arctic issues.


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