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

News briefs


Valdez Star photo

Valdez recognized three of its many, many military veterans Saturday during a special ceremony. Mayor pro tempore Nate Smith honored (from left to right) Sgt. Major Jeff Koontz, Petty Officer First Class Charles Sasse and Sgt. Edward "Mike" Meller.

Bear aware

Valdez police issued an alert Monday cautioning people to be aware of bears.

"A brown bear sow and 3 cubs have been spotted walking around in the Mineral Creek Subdivision near Porcupine Street, Robe River Drive, and near the Hospital property," the alert said. "Chances are, they will be moving about the area this evening and early morning. The mother bear is on high alert due to some of the crowds that have gathered in the area.

Please do NOT approach the bears! Please leave them alone and be cautious if you are outside of your residence."

Veterans honored

Mayor pro tempore Nate Smith represented the City of Valdez Saturday when during the town's annual Military Appreciation weekend.

Valdez veterans Sgt. Major Jeff Koontz, Petty Officer First Class Charles Sasse and Sgt. Edward "Mike" Meller were recognized for their service Saturday in a ceremony held on the city dock. A free community fish fry followed; as is traditional, veterans and active military personnel, including members of the Alaska National Guard who were on hand to sponsor children's activities, were served first.

Saturday's event was just one of many held to honor military personnel and veterans during Memorial Day Weekend.

Food for kids

The Valdez Food Bank is stepping forward to make sure children and young people in Valdez have enough to eat now that the school year has ended.

Beginning this Thursday, the organization will provide kid-friendly food packages that students can pick up at the school district office on Klutina St. - free of charge.

"Summer means the end of breakfast and lunch at school; for many kids that means they won't get enough to eat," the food bank said in a press release last month. "The Valdez Food Bank, in cooperation with Valdez City Schools, is once again offering summer food assistance to any child in need. Free bags containing a week's worth of kid-friendly food for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks..."

The food can be picked up on Thursdays - beginning on June 2 - and each Thursday throughout the summer between the hours of 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Youth can also pick up packs at the food bank on Thursdays from 5-6 p.m.

"This program is funded with grants from the City of Valdez and United Way," the food bank says. "For more information call Lana Gheen at 835-3733."

Tax bills

(AP) Gov. Bill Walker broke his tax proposals apart again after legislators pushed back on his decision to bundle them together for the special session.

Walker on Friday introduced four separate bills in the House, relating to tax increases on motor fuels and the fishing and mining industries and reinstituting a personal income tax. Similar bills were not introduced in the Senate.

Valdez Star photo

Father Eric Wiseman held a Blessing of the Animals last Wednesday, outside the Valdez Veterinary Clinic. The event was held before DVMs Kelly and Kathryn Hawkins were feted as part of a farewell party that also introduced the community to the new veterinarian, DVM Kate Van Duine.

Walker spokeswoman Grace Jang said the House had requested separate bills and the Senate had not.

During the regular session, Walker introduced his tax proposals as separate bills. But some legislators expressed reluctance to move forward with an increase on one group not knowing if other taxes would pass.

The administration rolled all of the tax pieces together for the special session that began Monday, but some saw that as problematic since a legislator might like certain pieces but not others.

The remaining pieces of Walker's tax package relate to tax increases on cigarettes and booze and address applicability of the marijuana tax. Jang said she expected those to stay in play.

Jang said the approach taken Friday should make it easier for legislators to move the pieces they have agreement on and want.


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