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

Bill Johnson for Alaska House

News Briefs

 

March 28, 2018



Open house

The Copper River Basin Child Advocacy Center is holding an open house in Valdez next week at the counseling center located inside Providence Valdez Medical Center.

The center, which has a mailing address in Gakona, says its staff and board members will be at the hospital to greet the public and inform the community about the center.

The event, which includes refreshment, is slated for this Tuesday, April 3, from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

According to its website, Children's Advocacy Centers are used nation and statewide to provide forensic interviews, forensic medical evaluations, mental health treatment, and victim advocacy to child victims of abuse based upon referrals from law enforcement and child protective services

Unemployment

(AP) State labor officials say Alaska lost about 2,300 jobs in February compared to the same month last year.

Total employment fell an estimated 0.7 percent in February from February 2017.

Employment in oil and gas jobs declined 6.8 percent through the loss of 700 jobs.

Retail was down 2.3 percent with the loss of 800 jobs. Construction fell 0.8 percent, representing a loss of 100 jobs, a smaller loss than in recent months. All three sectors of government lost jobs.

The manufacturing sector and the transportation, warehousing and utilities sector both gained 100 jobs. Health care added 1,000 jobs since February 2017 for a 2.7 percent increase.

Alaska's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained at 7.3 percent in February. The comparable national rate was 4.1 percent.

Who pays?

(AP) Gov. Bill Walker's administration is not asking for more state funding to advance a $43 billion Alaska gas pipeline, but some legislators are concerned allowing the developers to accept outside money could sign away much of their remaining control over the project.

The governor's 2019 fiscal year budget proposal includes language giving the Alaska Gasline Development Corp. the authority to accept third-party funds from potential Alaska liquefied natural gas investors.

Republican Sen. Cathy Giessel of Anchorage said legislators generally like to guard their appropriation authority, which is one of the most fundamental powers they are granted by the state constitution, the Alaska Journal of Commerce reported Wednesday.

"Receipt authority is a lot like giving a blank check," Giessel said.

She said the Senate Majority still has a lot of questions about what the state-owned corporation would do with the third-party funds - or what it would have to offer to receive them.

The House Finance version of the 2019 operating budget released March 19 capped the receipt authority at $1 billion per year to give the corporation financial headroom to keep working without the freedom to commit to building the whole project without further review by the Legislature.

Fishy subject

(AP) The University of Alaska is diving into broad social issues tied to salmon, with the hope of finding solutions to longstanding conflicts and future challenges.

Valdez Star photo

Blooms of pussy willow are beginning to sprout – bringing a glimpse of spring to the winter-wary.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks' College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences is launching the Alaska Center for Salmon and Society, focused on engagement, research and education. That includes a broad range of topics within salmon fisheries, oceanography, anthropology and politics.

The mission of the center is meant to be broad, said Milo Adkison, director of the center and a College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences researcher. The college has been considering a salmon center for several years, he said.

"There are a lot of pressing salmon issues, and there's a lot of people in the university and elsewhere that are working on these issues, and it seemed like we needed something," Adkison said.

From salmon fishing regulations to ocean science to the ongoing debate about salmon habitat protections, the center will host public forums and events to open up conversations about salmon, he said. The center is also launching a flagship course called Salmon and Society that explores the connections between salmon and people.

 

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