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

and Associated Press 

News briefs


Photo courtesy Rebecca Smith

The Richardson Highway Rendezvous was blessed with blue skies and a rocking good time Saturday as attendees and bands helped raise funds for KCHU public radio and the Friends of the Valdez Animal Shelter.

Food bank closure

The Valdez Food Bank will not open next week for its regularly scheduled Thursday distribution according to Lana Gheen.

"The Food Bank will be closed September 8 due to a volunteer shortage," she said in an email to the Valdez Star last week. "The food bank is run by a volunteer staff who will be otherwise occupied that day."

The non-profit organization has struggled with volunteers the past year, and cut its distribution days one just one day instead of two.

Killer pain kills

(AP) Alaska State Troopers say lab tests showed the presence of the powerful painkiller fentanyl in heroin seized from a village where four people recently overdosed on heroin, including one woman who died.

Troopers say 19-year-old Jamie Roberts died in the village of Quinhagak (QUINN'-uh-hawk) died earlier this month and two others were flown to Bethel, where they were treated and released. Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peterson says the fourth person was treated locally.

According to troopers, heroin seized in the community of 700 contained more Fentanyl than heroin. Troopers say that ratio is a first for Alaska.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid 50 times stronger than heroin that's responsible for a recent surge in overdose deaths in some parts of the nation.

New bird flu

(AP) The bird flu strain that wiped out millions of turkeys and chickens in the Midwest last year has been found in Alaska for the first time.

State health officials say a positive sample of a highly pathogenic H5N2 strain of avian flu came from a mallard duck. It was among wild bird samples collected during a banding project at a Fairbanks area waterfowl refuge earlier this month.

Officials say the U.S. Department of Agriculture will boost surveillance efforts in the Lower 48 and notify authorities in Mexico and Canada since wild birds migrate south from Alaska.

The avian flu outbreak led to the deaths of 49 million chickens and turkeys in 15 states last year.

New man on board

(AP) An Anchorage man opening a retail marijuana business has been appointed to the state Marijuana Control Board.

Steve Revis photo

A drone's-eye view of the KCHU's transmission tower that is perilously close to the unwieldy waters of the Glacier Stream.

Gov. Bill Walker announced Wednesday that Nicholas Miller will serve on the board. He replaces Bruce Schulte (SHUL-tee), whom Walker removed from the board July 29.

Miller is chairman of the Anchorage Cannabis Business Association. The association is made up of people filing for state and local licensing of pot businesses.

Miller's appointment runs through February 2018.

The Marijuana Control Board has the job of regulating Alaska's marijuana industry.

Schulte was appointed to the board in July 2015 as one of two industry representatives and served as board chairman until June.


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