News briefs


Valdez Star photo

Harold Blehm grew out his trusses in anticipation of taking a shaving in exchange for donations to fight childhood cancer. The St. Baldricks event was held in Valdez last Friday night.

Rock on

Rock climbing enthusiasts will be reaching for new heights in Valdez this week as in anticipation of the Valdez Rock Climbing Festival.

Organizers with Levitation 49, a non-profit group that works to support outdoor activities in Valdez, is hosting the three-day event, that begins Friday.

More information can be found at the group's website,

Mill rate set

The property tax mill rate in Valdez will remain at 20 mills for the upcoming tax year.

The move came a week ago Monday when the Valdez City Council approved its yearly resolution to set the property tax rate. The rate is the same as 2015.

Quake shakes

(AP) Officials say a small earthquake has rattled central Alaska.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the magnitude 4.6 temblor struck at about 3:30 a.m. Saturday, and was centered 110 miles northwest of Anchorage at a depth of 78 miles.

Police say the quake was felt in Anchorage, but there have been no reports of damage or injury.

On Sunday, a magnitude 5.4 temblor struck at 9:51 p.m. and was centered 130 miles north of Anchorage at a depth of 83 miles.

Jobless rates

(AP) The state Department of Labor says Alaska's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate held steady at 6.6 percent in April.

That's the same rate as March but is higher than the comparable U.S. rate of 5 percent.

The department says Alaska's adjusted rate has held steady at 6.6 percent since October.

State economists say the steady rate suggests that the effects of job losses in the oil and gas industry and state government so far have not spread through the broader economy.

Preliminary estimates of job counts in April show a loss of 2,500 jobs from April 2015.

The number is driven by declines in the oil and gas industry and state government.

Jobs also fell in construction and professional and business services sectors.

Health care and retail sectors saw job increases.

Photo courtesy Valdez Fish Derbies

The Valdez Halibut Derby began last week and Ernest McGehee of Mt. Vernon, Wash. won with his 68.6 pound catch from Sunday that he caught from aboard the "F/V Jaime Lynn."


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