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Local News
The Valdez City Council will meet in a work session tonight at 6pm to bring forward a potential ordinance addressing wood harvesting on City property. City Community and Economic Development Director Lisa VonBargen says, "informal firewood harvest is no longer a viable option on City land because of the abuse of the policy".
The report says, "Staff has not seen any instance of a single person harvesting a few trees for personal firewood. Instead, several groups of people have been harvesting large amounts of wood in a short time, likely as a source of income. Residents of Robe River call the City to complain weekly, and when City staff does an inspection of the forest the damage that is being done to public land is beyond reproach. In one week, staff counted over 25 stumps taken, and recently wood harvesters have begun to fell live trees".
A resolution will be voted on during tonight's meeting that makes it illegal to harvest firewood on City lands without a permit and authorizes the police department to enforce a $200 fine. The ordinance also includes posting of signs at entranced to Robe River forests, hiring a professional to remove dangerous stumps and working with the state forester on a fair way to conduct a firewood harvest.


At 2:30am this morning the State Senate approved a bill that will grant subsidies of up to $20 million a year to Petro Star refineries in Valdez and North Pole and up to $10 million to the Tesoro refinery in the Kenai reports the Alaska Dispatch. According to their report the 40 percent tax credit subsidies will be offered for five years and will be paid in the form of refunded taxes or cash payments to the companies in exchange for “infrastructure expenditures” at the refineries. The financial aid plan, requested by Petro Star after the shutdown of the Flint Hill refinery was approved in a 14-6 vote, explained the Dispatch. The same legislation made waves last week after receiving approval from the House Finance Committee, reports Liz Ruskin for Alaska Public Media. Although lawmakers on both side of the aisle express a desire to see Alaskan refineries succeed, Ruskin reports that some question the bill’s methods, including Anchorage Representative Les Gara saying, “It’s a bailout, it’s a giveaway, it’s poorly crafted,” Gara says. “It costs the state $150 million over five years, and it gives $50 million to Tesoro who doesn’t even want the money. At a time when we can’t afford our schools we need to come up with smarter solutions than just giving money to companies.” According to the report supporters like, North Pole Representative Steve Thompson believe the bill will not only help Alaska refineries but will keep other institutions such as Eielson Air Force base in business. Some representatives expressed concerns that the bill was presented with more detailed financial information from Petro Star saying no “meaningful analysis.” In the words of Representative Alan Austerman of Kodiak, “We’re just going based upon, a company come(s) to the state of Alaska saying that ‘we’re going to go out of business if you don’t give us some money.”
CLICK HERE to read the story from the Alaska Dispatch
CLICK HERE to read the report from Alaska Public Media
Tourism industry folks from Valdez, Glennallen, Tok and other areas on the road system met in Valdez last week for an information sharing event called "Highway Neighbors". The Valdez Convention and Visitors  Bureau hosted the event that included "Meet and Greet" events as well as presentations from the Department of Transportation, the Alaska Tourism Industry Association and Alaska Fish and Game. Industry leaders are expecting this year's tourism season to be strong. Alan LeMaster of Gulkana Fishing Charters addressed the group saying "I think they're coming and they're coming in good numbers". Laura Saxe of Eagles Rest RV Park said reservations are looking very good for the summer and she is also anticipating a good year.

News Watch
Anchorage Daily News
Spring cleanup is dirty work

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Conference committee set to resolve education bill versions

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Photos: Seahawks Super Bowl MVP visits College Gate school

Seattle Seahawk linebacker and Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith does warmup exercises with sixth-graders at College Gate Elementary School on Friday.

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Wayne and Wanda

Unlucky in love? Wayne and Wanda offer their advice in matters of the heart.

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US soldier buried with Germans at end of WWII may finally be coming home

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Alaska National Guard members face accusations of sexual misconduct

A dozen members of the Alaska National Guard face charges of sexual misconduct in what members of the guard call a severe problem in the ranks.

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Conway Seavey nabs another Junior Iditarod crown

Following in his family's paw prints, Conway Seavey of Sterling claimed his second Junior Iditarod championship Sunday, outdueling Ben Harper for a two-minute victory in the 132-mile sled dog race.

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Reynolds repeats as Fur Rondy sled dog race victor

Accepting his trophy with his lead dog, Guts, Arleigh Reynolds told the crowd that this would be his last Rondy race.

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Blues Central owner looks back at shift in Anchorage nightlife

As he prepares for Blues Central's last jam session, this weekend, Frank Dahl reflects on a career in restaurants and bars across Alaska, and how the nightlife scene has changed…

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Health insurer that refused federal HIV/AIDS payments sued by advocates

An advocacy group has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to force insurance companies in Louisiana to take payments from a federal program that helps HIV and AIDS patients.

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Lawmaker warns of legalized marijuana's social costs

House majority members on Thursday were asked about the potential tax revenues for the state should voters approve an initiative this summer legalizing the recreational use of marijuana.

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Feds: No more false starts on Alaska gas pipeline

Federal agencies are ready to work on an Alaska liquefied natural gas project but don't want another false start, state lawmakers were told Wednesday.

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Buccaneer seeks state rebates after Homer gas well comes up dry

Buccaneer Alaska LLC plans to plug and abandon a closely watched natural gas exploration well near Homer that came up dry despite a $9 million drilling program. Now Buccaneer wants…

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What Alaska's top state officials were paid in 2013

Top executives in state government made very good money in 2013, and University of Alaska officials were among those at the top of the list, according to a newly released…

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Market Fresh: Ninilchik smoked salmon takes top prizes in seafood contest

Tilgner's ruby red smoked sockeye, a new product from Ninilchik, took the grand prize, people's choice award and first place in the smoked seafood category at last week's Alaska Symphony…

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Minimum wage initiative makes August ballot

An initiative letting voters decide whether to raise the minimum wage in Alaska has met the minimum signatory requirements to be on the Aug. 19 ballot.

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Student debt may hurt housing recovery by hampering first-time buyers

The growing student loan burden carried by millions of Americans threatens to undermine the housing recovery's momentum by discouraging, or even blocking, a generation of potential buyers from purchasing their…

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Lawmaker challenges Parnell administration on commitment to renewable energy

In 2010, the state adopted an energy policy that, among other things, set a goal of having 50 percent Alaska's electric generation come from renewable and alternative energy sources by…

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Fire damages South Anchorage townhouses under construction

An eight-unit townhouse building on East 79th Avenue caught fire Monday night and burned for about an hour, damaging several units.

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Native Americans vow a last stand to block Keystone XL pipeline

Faith Spotted Eagle figures that building a crude oil pipeline from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast would bring little to Indian Country besides more crime and dirty water, but…

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37 teams vie for glory in 2,000-mile Iron Dog

With poor trail conditions ahead, 37 Iron Dog teams on Sunday will gather at Big Lake for the start of their 2,000-mile race across Alaska.

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Dyson, of Eagle River, says he'll retire from state Senate

Veteran Sen. Fred Dyson, R-Eagle River, says he plans to retire this year rather than run against Sen. Anna Fairclough in the Republican primary.

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Marijuana gets a show of support on Capitol Hill

Eighteen House members today asked President Barack Obama to reclassify the drug, removing it from a list of banned substances deemed to have no medical value.

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Conservationists seek federal protection for tufted puffins

Oil spills, fishing nets and collapsing forage fish populations due to warming sea surface temperatures are decimating tufted puffins and could lead to the disappearance of one of the most…

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Railroad eyes commuter service between Wasilla and Anchorage

The Alaska Railroad is evaluating whether to launch weekday passenger rail service between Anchorage and the Valley, where nearly a third of the working population drives to jobs in Alaska's…

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Quest musher Sass vows comeback, will wear helmet

Brent Sass, knocked out of the Yukon Quest with a head injury, says he'll be wearing a helmet the next time he gets on the runners of a sled.

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Death penalty suspended in Washington state

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday declared a moratorium on carrying out executions for as long as he was governor, saying in the announcement that he wasn't "convinced equal justice…

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Colorado mulls lessons from 1st month of pot sales

Colorado's marijuana experiment is going well, but there's a lot of work to do regulating the newly legal drug, state regulators and lawmakers said Monday in a panel reviewing successes…

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Shannyn Moore: Candidates mute on Koch money polluting Alaska election

The predatory libertarian hybrid philosophy of the Koch Brothers, hell-bent on reshaping America, is reminiscent of cranky old-time Alaskans living up here to escape America. Thing is, the Kochs have…

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For the sweetest Valentine's treats, consider local craft chocolates

Valentine's Day is supposed to be a celebration of people loving people. It's a day dedicated to all those who bring joy into each other's lives. Some will give singing…

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Fairbanks Daily News

Devens verdict and youth internet safety

Laurie discusses the recent Devens sentence and internet safety with Officer Mott and Hinkle of the VPD.

Sarah Histand Ski Challenge

The Wilderness Alaska Ski Challenge

Good News: Community Orchestra

Margaret talks to Emily Doyel about Valdez's Community Orchestra.

Valdez weather