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

Associated Press 

News briefs


Valdez Star photo

Slick road conditions call for caution when driving Alaska's winter roads as Elija Haase of Valdez discovered first hand Monday while driving through the Duck Flats.

Cops get nod

Valdez law enforcement was recognized by the Alaska Municipal League (AML) earlier this month in part for its innovative ALICE training program.

Valdez Police Department received the AML Public Safety Award of Excellence according to Allie Ferko, the public information officer for the city.

Under former police chief Bill Comer, VPD brought the ALICE program to Alaska, and it has continued to grow under the current chief, Bart Hinkle.

ALICE: an acronym for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate, is a program that gives tools to authorities at schools and other organizations - including private businesses - to deal with violence such as active shooters and other types of crimes that threaten public safety.

Since its inception in Valdez, the police department has been active in training not only local businesses and institutions in the program's techniques, but has also opened its doors to other institutions throughout the state.

LNG lawsuit

(AP) An environmental group filed a lawsuit Monday against the Federal Railroad Administration for failing to disclose the approval process for the Alaska Railroad's application for rail shipments of liquefied natural gas.

The Alaska Railroad would make the nation's first rail shipments of LNG.

The Center for Biological Diversity filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Washington D.C. on Monday. Miyoko Sakashita, a senior attorney for the organization, said the federal agency has largely ignored a February public records request seeking information about the hazards of carrying LNG, other than acknowledging the request.

"We thought the urgent action was needed," she said of the lawsuit.

Fatal crash

(AP) Alaska State Troopers are investigating a weekend crash on the Glenn Highway that left a 73-year-old Palmer man dead and another person seriously injured.

Troopers say Gary Saloka died at the scene of the early Sunday morning crash near milepost 37 in Palmer.

Troopers say a passenger in Saloka's GMC Sierra was seriously injured and flown to an Anchorage hospital.

According to troopers, 44-year-old Rufelia Blackmer of Wasilla was heading south on the highway in a Volvo when the vehicle crossed the center line and collided head-on with Saloka's northbound truck.

Pot store delay

(AP) A break-in at an Anchorage marijuana store has delayed the store's opening by a few weeks.

KTVA-TV reports that the owners of Enlighten Alaska say they will not be able to open as expected on Dec. 17 due to the burglary on Thanksgiving.

The owners say when they went to the store on Friday they found someone had taken about $5,000 worth of items from the store, including electronics, tools and the store's Wi-Fi router.

Co-owner Evan Levinton says the Anchorage Police Department is investigating the break-in.

Investor taxes

(AP) December's almost here, which means many fund investors are about to get a taxable lump in their accounts.

The end of the year is distribution season for mutual funds and exchange-traded funds. That's when funds send payments to their investors called capital-gains distributions, and shareholders receive them even if they don't sell any shares. These distributions can be as big as 20 percent of a fund's price, and investors holding funds outside a 401(k), Individual Retirement Account or another tax-advantaged account can be liable to pay capital-gains taxes on them.

Funds have already put notices on their websites to give shareholders an idea of what to expect. The biggest mutual-fund family by assets, Vanguard, expects to send gains distributions for several dozen of its funds in late December, for example, running the gamut from a health care stock fund to a New Jersey municipal bond fund to a dividend stock fund.

A confluence of several, disconnected factors is pushing distributions higher this year, from investors' continued march to index funds to the rash of buyouts that has occurred in recent months.


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