Monthly Archives: August 2015

Alaska News Roundup for August 31

  • WELCOME MR. PRESIDENT!!!

 

  • Sunday might have been a day of rest for many, but not for Alaska’s political wonks! The Peninsula Clarion was on hand to capture giddy preparations going into effect for Anchorage’s big day (today) for when the president makes his grand appearance. Former Rep. Beth Kerttula (D-Juneau) and former Juneau Mayor Fran Ulmer were interviewed.
  • The Fairbanks News Miner has the skinny on Gov. Bill Walker flying on Air Force One with the president to Alaska. THE BIG QUESTION is whether the governor might snag a box of presidential M&M’s for one humble political blogger (hint, hint).

    m&M

    Yummy & Spiffy @ the same time!

  • Seward had not one, but TWO presidential helicopters tackling the finicky winds of Resurrection Bay and testing approaches in preparation of Pres. Obama arriving in Seward Tuesday.
  • One of my little birds made a rather blue joke about seeing lots of legislators packing meat over the weekend in the valley. Turns out that the truth was rather banal. 20+ state legislators and a few commissioners toured one of the state’s biggest slaughterhouses, Mt. McKinley (maybe time to rethink the name) Meat and Sausage, in an attempt to wrangle state funding going into FY17. There were more than a few visitors that looked rather queasy during the tour.

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Alaska News Roundup for August 28

  • The Anchorage Superior Court room was packed yesterday to hear the oral arguments over the Legislative Council’s lawsuit against Gov. Bill Walker’s executive powers to expand Medicaid. Everyone was there, that is, as APRN pointed out…except the Outside lawyers representing the Legislative Council. They deigned to SKYPE into the hearing from their spacious offices in Washington, D.C.
  • Downtown Anchorage is going to be experiencing major road closures during President Obama’s visit to our largest city. The Dispatch has all the details of where and when the closures take affect, who’s affected and alternative routes…but generally speaking stay away from downtown Monday. Take a sick day, play hooky and bask in the glow that is this historic presidential visit.

    anc map

    Image Credit of the Dispatch

  • Think again about getting any juicy details about President Obama’s upcoming visit to Seward because as the Seward City News (and your humble blogger) found out…city officials are NOT sharing.

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Alaska News Roundup for August 27

  • Get those champagne glasses ready because APRN has cheer worthy news! The Alaska wage gap between genders is on its way out with YWCA anticipating equal pay for equal work by 2025!giphy-4

 

  • Secretary of State John Kerry will be touching down on Alaska soil on August 30th, per the Seward City News!
  • Rep. Scott Kawasaki (D-Fairbanks) and Rep. Charisse Millett (R-Anchorage) both gave a Twitter shout-out to the awesomeness that is strong women with the right to vote (both in the ballot box and on the legislative floor) to commemorate the 19th Amendment.exportmillett

 

  • Sen. Lesil McGuire (R-Anchorage) is going to have heavy competition going into the 2016 election season. Just with the August primary she will once again face Jeff “I’ve never met a speedo I didn’t rock” Landfield but also former Anchorage School Board member Natasha Von Imhof! Whoever wins the GOP primary for District L; they will face the Democratic force that is Forrest McDonald.

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Alaska News Roundup for August 26

  • President Obama will be visiting Seward, Dillingham, Kotzebue, Anchorage, via the Seward City News, Juneau Empire, and historical inference. There may be more places announced in the coming days (fingers crossed!)
  • Alaska might be beside themselves with glee as Mr. President visits next week, but as the Washington Post points out…he isn’t the first. Their article lists the previous presidents that have visited the Last Frontier, where they traveled and for how long. Biggest surprise? FDR fishing in Juneau while wearing a suit and fedora!

    FDR

    Photo Credit of the FDR Library 

  • The Ketchikan City Council race has one more candidate in Charles “Chuck” Slagle. My little bird is looking forward to his fundraisers as Slagle is known for his smoked fish.

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Alaska News Roundup for August 24

  • In wicked awesome news: AFN is handing out FREE (yep, that’s right FREE) tickets to attend Rising Together; Welcome President Obama to Alaska at the Alaska Airlines Center next Monday. The president and senior staff have been invited, but confirmation of their attendance hasn’t been made public. Want to get your hands on some this awesomeness? You still can, but you have to pick up the remaining tickets between 1:00-4:00pm today only (you’ll get a flag too!). AFN Offices/1577 C Street/Suite 301/Anchorage, AK.Obama Visit

 

  • Today in 1912, Congress passed a measure that created the Alaska Territory and began the process toward statehood with establishing the Parcel Post delivery by the USPS the following year.
  • The Nome Common Council will vote today on whether to make their six member panel the de facto local commercial pot regulatory authority, per the Nome Nugget.
  • The Homer Tribune has the details on the candidates vying for Mako Haggerty’s open seat on the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly. Fritz Creek’s Willy Dunne and Dawson Slaughter will be going toe-to-toe in this race. My little bird tells me that the seat is Dunne’s to lose, but Slaughter is known for his charisma and could prove to be a fierce adversary.

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Alaska News Roundup for August 21

  • The proposed borough-wide marijuana tax ballot measure went up in smoke at the last Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly The reason? Too many unknowns to properly assess tax rates on this burgeoning economic driver.
  • The Dispatch’s Dermot Cole’s recent article figuratively took Sen. Dan Sullivan out to the toolshed over the senator’s flip-flopping on his Law of the Sea treaty stance.
  • Politico examines the political landscape shift that has occurred during Pres. Obama’s tenure in office from state to federal levels (Blue–>Purple–>Red with Congressional seats and Blue–>Red with legislative seats; Alaska being the one exception).
    2009

    2009 State Legislatures. Democrats controlled 27 and Republicans controlled 14.

    2014

    2015 State Legislatures. Democrats control 11 and Republicans control 30.

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Alaska News Roundup for August 20

  • The Anchorage Assembly is now going to try to ban smoking & vaping in the open outdoors by starting with fining $50.00 for doing so in Town Square (you know, the open public park that belongs to all!). The Dispatch shares that this proposed ordinance would be introduced on August 25 and public testimony will happen on September 15.
  • Gov. Bill Walker was not alone in giving aide in the Sitka recovery efforts. As this Sitka Sentinel picture shows, community support is in abundance.Sitka

 

  • One of my little birds forwarded on the news that Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and 2016 presidential hopeful will be in Fairbanks Tuesday.
  • It seems that only the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly understands the importance of Fox well since both the state and the feds turned their noses up at potential ownership. The only sticking point is that the popular watering hole would cost an estimated $50,000 a year in maintenance…which the assembly will use as a factor in their decision.

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Alaska News Roundup for August 19

  • The latest Borough Assembly Report by one Sue McClure is HERE! It is complete with news on Mayor Navarre’s official trip to Japan, upcoming public hearings, ballot proposition summaries for the Oct. 6 election and so much more.
  • One of my little birds took umbrage at yesterday’s Roundup by pointing out that Sen. Dan Sullivan “is following in [former Sen. Mark] Begich’s footsteps” regarding the move to rename Mt. McKinley à Denali. Fair enough.

    Begich

    Image credit of CQRC Engage

  • Medicaid Expansion appears to have the stuff to become Gov. Bill Walker’s legacy issue. After the joint state senate/house’s decision to sue the governor over the legality of his decision, there was a flurry of press releases each making it quite clear where the battle lines are currently drawn: Senate Minority via Sen. Berta Gardner (D-Anchorage); House Minority via Rep. Sam Kito (D-Juneau), Rep. Andy Josephson (D-Anchorage), Rep. Les Gara (D-Anchorage), Rep. Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage); House Majority via Rep. Lynn Gattis (R-Wasilla), Rep. Dan Saddler (R-Eagle River), Rep. Lance Pruitt (R-Anchorage), Rep. Tammie Wilson (R-North Pole).

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Alaska News Roundup for August 18

  • The state’s constitutional right to privacy doesn’t trump local-option restrictions, so sayeth the State of Alaska’s appeals court-via the Peninsula Clarion.
  • Tonight Fairbanks North Star Borough residents get to voice their thoughts, concerns, and disenchantment over the proposed commercial pot zones at the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly’s public hearing on the issue, per the Fairbanks News Miner.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Holland America Line need to be put into time-out for being wicked naughty! It turns out that these three cruise ship companies have each been found guilty and fined an “undisclosed amount” by the State of Alaska for illegally dumping “emissions” into Alaska’s waters.

 

  • One of my little birds was touched that Sen. Lisa Murkowski ignored an aide’s desire to leave after yesterday’s public hearing on federal/state involvement to listen to her concerns.
  • Despite being in the middle of a revenue shortfall, Mat-Su Borough Assembly is considering a proposal that would cut even MORE revenue from their current tax structure by exempting property owners from paying property taxes if they lease space/buildings to charter schools. The Frontiersman estimates that the loss could be roughly $171,936.76.

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Alaska News Roundup for August 17

  • North Slope Borough Mayor Charlotte Brower’s husband exchanged some choice words with the NSB assembly over the brewing scandal of his wife’s alleged misappropriations of funds. The Arctic Sounder has the details; you provide the popcorn.
  • Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Luke Hopkins is worried for good reasons. The rough draft of state DOT future projects showed that not only were there fewer projects on tap, but several important transportation projects in the region have been placed in the dreaded “limbo” category. The Fairbanks News Miner has the details.

    Fairbanks & Anchorage

    Photo Credit to the Dispatch. Captions, all Inside Alaska Politics baby!

  • Sen Lesil McGuire (R-Anchorage) wrote an op-ed in The Hill bestowing platitudes onto Donald Trump and his performance during last week’s Fox News 2016 GOP presidential debate.
  • Last week the PEW Charitable Trust released their 2015 review of each state’s “checkbook” and found Alaska lacking at such a degree that it was awarded an “F” for the second year in a row for lack of government transparency and feasibility in deciphering the state’s “checkbook”. To which Sen. Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage) responded with a public letter to the governor asking for the MUCH needed improvements.

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Alaska News Roundup for August 14

  • Big Lake voters are getting increasingly jittery over the upcoming vote in October that will decide (again) over whether to become the 4th incorporated Mat-Su Valley city. It didn’t help that the initial Division of Elections flier had such vague/confusing wording that many thought the incorporation would up mill rates by 33% and not the expected 09 mills. The Frontiersman reports that it has been fixed with a second flier being sent out with clearer language.Big Lake

 

  • KCUB explains that the purpose behind Obama’s trip to Alaska. It’s not anti-drilling. It’s more along the lines of climate change…not anti-drilling. That is all.
  • Rep. Don Young has his own response to Pres. Obama’s upcoming trip to Alaska. It is brief and diplomatic.

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Alaska News Roundup for August 13

  • Special Session 3.0 is on the horizon and the when/where is still a BIG unknown. The Juneau Empire spoke with Sen. Dennis Egan (D-Juneau) about the possibilities of a Juneau or Anchorage based locale.
  • President Obama’s upcoming trip to Alaska has so many people scratching their heads that whitehouse.org has an entire page (and video) has been dedicated to explain why he would want to visit the Last Frontier…aside from the obvious awesomeness of berry season.

YouTube Preview Image 

 

  • Sitka has an $8.3 million debt problem that stems mainly from water and wastewater maintenance and KCAW details how the Sitka Assembly is grappling with the situation.

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Alaska News Roundup for August 12

  •  There are THREE new candidates for the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly races!! Mayor Merrill Sanford has filed for another term, while both Robert Percival AND Jason Puckett are running against incumbent Assemblyman Jerry Nankervis for the District 2 seat.
  • In ewww, but totally awesome news: Wired gives an update on the human poo àdrinking water and electricity machine that was designed as part of The Gates Foundation Reinvent the Toilet Challenge. Turns out that with the two school bus size machines work to produce water that is indistinguishable from traditional tap water. Might be something of interest for our Honey Bucket/off the electric grid villages in Alaska to investigate since it is already in use in Senegal to great success.
YouTube Preview Image

 

  • The pot tax percentage is quickly becoming a hot topic with the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly as the question of whether it should be 5% or 8% is now being given its own special meeting set for August 20, per the Fairbank News Miner.
  • Oil prices are now at their lowest level in more than 6 years with $43.08 a barrel, per CNBC.oil

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Alaska News Roundup for August 10

  • TransCanada might be using NAFTA to sue the US Government over their expected decision to nix the Keystone XL Pipeline, per The Hill.
  • Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Luke Hopkins understands the importance of a properly protected cyber infrastructure in this age of daily black hat hacking and is asking the Borough Assembly for $50,000 to audit the systems for vulnerabilities. Hooray to a forward thinking, proactive mayor!
  • The backlash over Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s vote on Planned Parenthood continues with an impassioned op-ed by City and Borough of Juneau Assemblyperson Kate Troll in the Juneau Empire.
  • Buccaneer Energy’s loss is Aurora Gas’ gain in their acquisition of West Eagle’s drilling lease for $69,760, per the Homer Tribune.
  • Congrats to City Clerk Tom Moran on being selected by the Nome Common Council to be their city’s new City Manager.

    Moran

    Photo Credit of Knom

  • The Mat-Su Borough got their knuckles wrapped by the Alaska DEC for sloppy paperwork on the Talkeetna wastewater treatment plant. The Frontiersman explain that there was not only unfiled but MISSING paperwork following a less than satisfactory inspection last May.
  • Sen. Bert Stedman (R-Sitka) confirmed to the Ketchikan Daily News, many Alaskans’ fears: Special Session 3.0 is highly likely.
  • Sen. Lesil McGuire (R-Anchorage) utilized a rare legislative power to subpoena the video of an inmate’s last few days while in an Anchorage solitary confinement cell before his suspicious death of what some consider prisoner abuse. The Dispatch reports that Sen. Kevin Meyer (R-Anchorage) rescinded the subpoena after initially first approving it.
  • The New York Times reports that the US Treasury will be selling Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority power revenue refinancing bonds for $66 million and the Anchorage Convention Center revenue refinancing bonds for $90 million this week.
  • The Dispatch’s Dermot Cole continues the steady drumbeat for civility and against political grandstanding when Pres. Obama returns to Alaska.
  • The Juneau Empire reveals its sadness in the lack of new political faces in the two City and Borough of Juneau Assembly races. Only incumbents Loren Jones and Jerry Nankervis have filed so far for the seats.
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Sen. Dan Sullivan came out against Russia’s North Pole land grab during an interview with Fox News.
  • Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott explained to KCAW that in order for the federal government to intervene with the growing transboundary mining problem, individual voices needed to come unite into unified action.
  • Alaskan Vets, meet the new (interim) head of AK VA Health Care System: Linda Boyle. The Dispatch has her credentials.

    VA

    Photo Credit of the Dispatch

  • APRN recounts another example of state budget cuts’ real affect on Alaska with a story on the potential closure of Petersburg Borough’s regional D.A. office.
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