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

and Associated Press 

News Briefs


Valdez Star photo

Mayor Ruth Knight looks at the Earthquake Memorial proposal created by Ketchikan artist Rhonda Green.

Help pick memorial

The City of Valdez and a committee formed with the Valdez Museum are seeking public input into a proposed memorial to the victims of the 1964 earthquake.

Models of the proposed memorials, which will be a new feature for Dock Point, are available for viewing at the Valdez Museum.

Artists submitted visions for a memorial, and the committee selected two finalists. The museum hosted a preview of the two proposals - both featuring scaled-down models - Monday night and asked attendees to vote for their favorite concept.

Those interested in viewing the models and voting on which concept they like best can do so at the Valdez Museum during regular hours.

The project is not yet funded.

Hiker rescued

The city's public information office said Sunday that the Valdez fire and police departments "responded to reports of an injured hiker on a trail near Keystone Canyon, Sunday afternoon."

The incident occured near the pipeline access near MP 12.

"At approximately 2:45 p.m. Sunday, Valdez Fire and Police Dispatch received a report of a hiker injured after falling down a scree field on the "twelve-mile" pipeline access trail near Keystone Canyon," the city said, noting that emergency responders were on the scene within 15 minutes of receiving the call for help. "Utilizing an all-terrain vehicle and a police sport utility vehicle, responders traveled from the Browns Creek bridge three miles up the trail to the base of what appeared to be an old rock slide. Responders then hiked up the rock field and discovered a 32-year old female with a major laceration to her right wrist and forearm. The woman's hiking partners had already administered basic first aid for her injuries."

Election mailer

A number of Valdez voters were left scratching their heads last week after receiving voting guides in the mail for the upcoming Mat-Su Borough elections.

"The Valdez Clerks Office has received many inquiries over the week regarding why the Matanuska-Susitna Borough election mailer was sent to Valdez residents," Deputy City Clerk Allie Ferko said Monday in an email.

Borough clerk Lonnie McKenchnie says in a follow-up letter dated Sept. 16 that the election brochure was meant to be sent to registered voters of the borough, and said Valdez residents were inadvertently also sent the brochure due to a faulty mailing list provided by a third-party vendor.


(AP) Alaska residents could soon need more than a driver's license to gain access to military bases and other federal facilities, because Alaska's state-issued identification cards remain out of compliance with federal law.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that Alaska IDs will be invalid for entering federal installations as of Oct. 10. They won't be sufficient to get people through airport checkpoints starting in 2018.

Alaska is one of 28 states and U.S. territories that issue IDs that don't comply with the federal REAL ID Act of 2005.

Alaska has applied for a waiver, but officials say they aren't sure it will come in time.

State Department of Administration spokeswoman Minta Montalbo says a 2008 law has prevented the state from fulfilling all REAL ID requirements.

Anchorage doctor abused children

Valdez Star photo

Shala Dobson, far left, and Jim Dolt, middle, explain details behind their proposed earthquake memorial.

(AP) A former Anchorage doctor accused of sexually abusing four children will serve at least 23 years in prison.

Clifford Merchant was given a 51-year sentence with 43 years suspended Friday after he pleaded guilty to sexual abuse of a minor and child pornography charges. He has been ordered to serve at least 23 years behind bars before he's eligible for parole.

Authorities began investigating the 69-year-old Merchant in 2014, when a 12-year-old girl reported that he had touched her inappropriately. Investigators eventually identified three other victims, all under the age of 13.

The abuse occurred between 2001 and 2013.

Court documents say Merchant was later accused of hiring an FBI informant to kill one of the victims but that he eventually called off the plan.


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