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

News Briefs


Play auditions

Ever wanted to give acting a try?

The drama department at Prince Williams Sound College is holding auditions for its upcoming play - and it is open to everyone in Valdez who is over the age of 16.

Auditions will be held next Tuesday, January 24, at 6:30 p.m. in the Sugarloaf Learning Hall at the college.

The play is a farce according to Dawson Moore, head of the college drama department.

Peter Shaffer’s 1965 farce "Black Comedy" is described as a "widely produced play is about a painter on the most important day of his life: a famous German millionaire is coming to view his work, and the military father of his girlfriend is going to meet him for the first time."

Moore said "Auditions will consist of readings from the script and movement exercises. British or German accents are called for, but not necessary at auditions; training will be provided during rehearsals."

Performances are on March 25 and 26 at the Valdez Civic Center.

Volcano simmers

(AP) A volcano in Alaska's Aleutian Islands has sent up two more ash clouds but neither reached 20,000 feet, the height as which ash becomes a major concern for intercontinental air carrier flights.

The Alaska Volcano Observatory says Bogoslof (BOH-gohs-lawf) Volcano erupted at 11:23 a.m. Thursday and produced a cloud that reached 18,000 feet.

A second eruption at 12:35 p.m. sent up an ash cloud to 14,500 feet.

Both eruptions were seen by pilots.

Bogoslof is 850 miles southwest of Anchorage. The volcano has erupted more than 10 times since Dec. 16.

The observatory says more eruptions producing ash clouds, which can damage jet engines, could occur at any time with little warning.

No radiation

(AP) State officials have announced that tests of Alaska seafood continue to show no detectable amounts of radiation, five years after a deadly earthquake and tsunami set off a nuclear disaster at a Japanese power plant.

KTVA-TV reported that more than 16,000 people were killed in 2011 after Japan's 9.1-magnitude earthquake, which led to nuclear meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Since then, U.S. and international agencies have been conducting tests to determine the health of marine life along the U.S. and Canada. Testing regions in Alaska include the Aleutian Islands and Bering Sea, Bristol Bay, the Gulf of Alaska and the southeast region.

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation said Monday testing in 2016 confirmed Alaska seafood hasn't been impacted by radiation from the nuclear plant.

Rig count down

(AP) The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. declined by six this week to 659.

A year ago, 650 rigs were active. Depressed energy prices have curtailed exploration, although the rig count has been rebounding in recent months.

Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. said Friday that 522 rigs sought oil and 136 explored for natural gas this week. One was listed as miscellaneous.

Wyoming increased by two rigs and Louisiana by one.

Oklahoma and Texas each declined by two rigs. Colorado, North Dakota, Ohio and Pennsylvania fell by one each.

Alaska, Arkansas, California, Kansas, New Mexico, Utah and West Virginia were all unchanged.

The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981. It bottomed out in May at 404.

Obamacare fines

(AP) If you haven't signed up for health insurance, you may soon be getting a not-too-subtle nudge from the taxman.

The IRS is sending personalized letters to millions of taxpayers who might be uninsured, reminding them that they could be on the hook for hundreds of dollars in fines under the federal health care law if they don't sign up soon through It's an unusual role for a revenue-collection agency.

Fines are one of the most unpopular parts of the 2010 health overhaul, and there's a high likelihood they'll get repealed by Republicans, even if other parts of "Obamacare" survive. The administration is counting on IRS reminders to help sign up as many people as possible before open enrollment ends Jan. 31. That's soon after officials hand off President Barack Obama's signature program to a Trump administration committed to "repeal and replace."


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