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

News briefs


Photo courtesy Bob Benda

Eagle parents tend to at least one eaglet in a Valdez aerie.

To the rescue

Rescue services are in high demand in the Valdez area this season.

Experts say inexperience and unpreparedness contribute to the high number of people who venture into the backcountry and later need help getting out.

Last week, Alaska State Troupers and staff from Vertical Solutions were called in to rescue two prospectors from the Gold Creek area.

Last Thursday, personnel from the Valdez Fire Dept's backcountry search and rescue team were deployed to assist two hikers who had climbing the trail up the hill behind Valdez High School.


Valdez had 1.19 inches of rain for the week of July 3 - July 9, according to Eric Cooper of the Valdez Avalanche Center.

That means the total precipitation is recorded at 22.93 inches since January 1.


(AP) A volcano on Alaska's Aleutian Island chain that has erupted frequently in the past eight months has sent up another ash cloud, leading an agency to issue a warning to aviation.

The Alaska Volcano Observatory says the Bogoslof volcano erupted at 10:15 a.m. Saturday Alaska time, creating an ash cloud that rose to 5.6 miles (9 kilometers) above sea level.

The agency issued a red, or warning, alert to aviation because of the ash cloud.

Bogoslof has erupted periodically since mid-December.

Pot taxes

(AP) Alaska's marijuana industry has brought in more than $1 million in tax revenue since commercial sales began in October.

Revenue passed the mark on June 30, which was the due date for Alaska cannabis growers to pay taxes collected in May, The Juneau Empire reported. The state's May money pushed overall revenue to $1.2 million and was $272,600 - the highest of any single month since October.

The Department of Revenue predicted earlier this year that the state would collect $2 million in the fiscal year that ended July 1. The revenue will miss that mark, but officials said sales are on the verge of increasing.

Kelly Mazzei of the department's tax division said outdoor growing operations have not yet made their first harvest. When that happens, the state's tax revenue might soar, she said.

Mazzei predicted figures for June could reach $500,000.

Under Alaska's rules, cultivators - not retailers - pay state taxes.

Eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana, though only Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Alaska have fully fledged their industries. Nevada began allowing recreational sales July 1.

Tick problems

(AP) The Alaska Department of Fish and Game says the number of ticks in the state is on the rise.

Alaska has had types such as vole and squirrel ticks that are found on wildlife, but newer to the state are two kinds of dog ticks, said Dr. Kimberlee Beckmen, a wildlife veterinarian.

"Those are not known to be occurring in Alaska, and we were finding them on not just pets that were coming up, travelers, but also on pets that had never been outside of Alaska," Beckmen told KTVA-TV. "With repeated introduction, they've established themselves and they're reproducing here."

The dog ticks and other species have been found across the state. Beckmen said she is trying to spread the word to pet owners, doctors and veterinarians.

"These ticks can transmit a number of diseases that can make dogs sick, that are specific to dogs, but are also diseases that people can get," she said.

Those include Lyme disease, tularemia and even a sudden and potentially severe red meat allergy.

Beckmen said the best way to keep pets safe is a monthly topical treatment applied on a dog's neck and back from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Dungeness crab

Tony Gorman photo

Fans and organizers were on hand to greet the few stalwart racers who made it to Valdez Saturday when the Fireweed 400 came rolling into town. Bad weather and other factors caused numerous racers to scratch.

(AP) The summer season for the commercial Dungeness crab fishery in Southeast Alaska will be three weeks shorter than usual. reports the Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced Thursday the season will be closing July 25 after tallying the harvest from the first seven days of the season.

The catch from that first week came in at 605,000 pounds.

An estimated 2.25 million pounds are needed to keep the season open the full two months. The current estimate for the combined summer and fall harvest is 1.68 million pounds.

State lead crab biologist for the Southeast region Joe Stratman calls the season shortage "unprecedented" and says it's the largest reduction Fish and Game has made to the fishing time to the summer season.


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