News Briefs


December 13, 2017

Valdez Star file photo

Applications for the city's 2018 energy assistance credit are due Friday, Dec. 15.

Energy credit

All Valdez households that pay a fuel or electric bill will be eligible to receive a $550 credit towards their winter bill - but the deadline to apply is this Friday - Dec. 15.

Applications are available online and at City Hall.

The program is not an income-based assistance program - it was originally implemented as de facto property tax rebate and as a way to fight high energy costs for all Valdez residents.

The program requires pre-registration to be considered according to the city, which grants the one-time utility payments.

Lodge burned down

(AP) An Alaska lodge built more than 80 years ago near Glennallen has burned down.

KTUU-TV reports that a passing motorist spotted flames coming from the Mendeltna Creek Lodge Sunday morning.

Alaska State Troopers spokesman Tim DeSpain says multiple volunteer fire departments responded to the scene but were unable to save the structure.

The lodge's owners, Mabel and Russ Wimmer, are both fine but their pets died in the fire.

Rowdy Allain, the fire chief for Nelchina and Mendeltna, says the fire appears to have started in the living quarters, in the rear of the building. But Allain says the cause of the fire has yet to be determined. The state fire marshal is traveling to Mendeltna to investigate.

Open house

(AP) Alaskans filed into the governor's mansion for treats and a handshake with Gov. Bill Walker during the annual holiday open house a week ago Tuesday.

The holiday-season open house is a longstanding tradition, dating back more than a century.

Walker was joined by his wife, Donna, Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott and Mallott's wife, Toni, in greeting visitors ushered in from the cold. Inside was a long table with cookies and other sweets, as well as ginger bread houses.

Mallott says the Christmas tree came from Yakutat, where he is from.

Walker says he enjoys meeting the youngsters who come through, though he says he knows he and the lieutenant governor are not necessarily the draw for them.

He says he's glad to be a part of the tradition.

Holiday travel

(AP) About 51 million Americans are expected to fly on U.S. airlines in the three weeks around Christmas and New Year's Day, a 3.5 percent increase over last year.

That's the forecast Wednesday from Airlines for America, a trade group for most of the leading U.S. airlines.

The group credits an improving economy and airfares that have lagged below the rate of inflation.

The forecast counts domestic and international flights between Dec. 15 and Jan. 4.

That would mean about 80,000 more passengers per day. The trade group says airlines are adding about 91,000 seats per day to handle the crowds.

Small shaker

(AP) A magnitude 3.3 earthquake has hit central Alaska.

The Alaska Earthquake Center says the earthquake struck at 3:28 a.m. Sunday and its epicenter was 30 miles (48 kilometers) southwest of Manley Hot Springs, which has fewer than 100 residents.

The earthquake had a depth of about 9 miles (14 kilometers).

There are no reports of damage.

Photo courtesy State of Alaska

(L-R) Lt. Gov. Byron Mallot, his wife Tony, Donna Walker and Gov. Bill Walker greeted more than 2000 Alaskans last week during the open house at the Governor's Mansion - an annual tradition in Juneau.


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