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

News Briefs


Tony Gorman photo

Saturday's clean up day was a family affair as the citizens of Valdez went out and picked up trash and debris that accumulated around town last winter.

Rain in Valdez

Weather watchers with Valdez Avalanche Center report that there was a little over half an inch of rain in Valdez for the week of May 15-21, .56" to be precise.

The group also reports that Valdez has received 16.55 inches of rain since January 1.

Aleutian update

The Valdez City Council is slated to hold a work session this coming Wednesday night with administrators regarding Aleutian Village Trailer Park.

Valdez has been working behind the scenes to acquire the land the park sits on from the owners, Alaska's Dept. of Transportation.

The land has been leased from ADOT by the Aleut Corp., which has run the trailer park, but gave notice to residents over a year ago that it intended to liquidate the park and issued eviction notices, which were later rescinded.

The park's status has remained in flux since that time.

Volcano spews

(AP) An Alaska volcano erupted Tuesday night and spewed ash for more than an hour.

The Alaska Volcano Observatory says Bogoslof (BOH-gohs-lawf) Volcano erupted at 10:32 p.m. and continued for 73 minutes.

A pilot reported the eruption produced an ash cloud that reached 34,000 and the observatory issued a warning to pilots. Wind pushed the cloud southwest.

Ash from southwest Alaska volcanos is a threat to airliners operating between North America and Asia when a cloud rises above 20,000 feet. Ash can harm and stop jet engines.

Bogoslof has been erupting periodically since mid-December. The observatory says additional explosions producing high-altitude ash could occur at any time.

The volcano is 850 miles southwest of Anchorage in the Aleutian Islands.

Real ID

(AP) The Alaska Legislature has passed a bill aimed at bringing the state into compliance with national proof-of-identity standards.

The House gave final approval Wednesday to legislation that allows the state to issue REAL ID-compliant licenses. Gov. Bill Walker intends to sign it.

Alaska in 2008 passed a law barring state agencies from spending money to help implement REAL ID. Some of the same concerns about privacy and federal overreach were raised during this session's debate.

The House even passed a resolution urging the federal repeal of REAL ID.

The state has gotten compliance extensions.

But state officials said if lawmakers didn't pass REAL ID legislation, Alaska risked having driver's licenses rejected at military bases once the current extension expires June 6, and for air travel requiring federal screening in January.

No cop pot

(AP) The Alaska Police Standards Council has decided officers and prison guards in the state should not be getting involved in the marijuana industry.

The council voted earlier this month to ban police from "owning or operating a marijuana business," KTUU-TV reported.

The council had cited the ongoing federal ban as a contributing factor to its decision.

Council director Bob Griffiths said the matter needed to be addressed.

"... the council felt it may be only a matter of time before a certified officer considered pursuing a license to possess, distribute, or cultivate marijuana in Alaska," Griffiths wrote in a statement. "The council decided to send a loud and clear message to those officers considering such an endeavor, that this activity was inconsistent with the ethics of professional law enforcement and is prohibited under current state regulations."

Any certified police officer found to be operating a marijuana business since the rule has passed will lose their ability to work for a police department or any other law enforcement agency across the state.

Alaska voters legalized recreational marijuana in 2014. Retail sale began in late 2016.

Delta to Juneau

(AP) Delta Air Lines has begun its seasonal flights to the capital of Alaska.

The Juneau Empire reports flights from Seattle to Juneau started last week. They will run once a day during the summer season.

Planes will land in Juneau at night and depart in the morning.

Airport Manager Patty Wahto says Delta is more prepared this year for weather conditions that regularly make Juneau a difficult place to land.

Delta officials advise passengers to allot two hours for checking in.

Whale watching

Tony Gorman photo

Valdez supporters of Special Olympics came out Saturday for the annual Torch Run - a fundraiser hosted by law enforcement agencies all across Alaska.

(AP) A University of Alaska professor and graduate student are planning to study the impact whale watching has on humpback whales.

The Juneau Empire reports this summer professor Heidi Pearson and one of her students will see how many whale-watching boats are in an area at once, and how close those boats are getting to the whales.

Some people in the Alaska whale-watching industry say an increasing number of tourist vessels have become a problem, while others say the vessels practices are actually becoming more whale-friendly.

Humpback whale populations in Juneau have increased to historic numbers in recent years, which has brought in more tourist vessels.

A 2015 report had listed whale watching in Juneau as an estimated $35 million industry. About 60 tour boats will work out of the city this year.


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