Monthly Archives: September 2015

Alaska News Roundup for September 30

  • In that was quick news: Roselynn Cacy has become candidate #4 for the now open Senate District L seat Southwest Anchorage. This is expected to be old had for Casey as she ran for the seat back in 2012, but as the Dispatch reports, this time around she will first have win the Democratic primary against long-time campaigning Forrest McDonald. Jeff “I’ve never met a Speedo I couldn’t rock” Landfield and Natasha von Imhof have their own primary battle for the GOP bid before the final face-off in November 2016.
  • Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! The lucky coffee-drinking Juneau residents just got luckier with the announcement that Coppa, GonZo, and the Rookery are going to match discounted coffee prices to October 6th’s voter turnout. As the Juneau Empire reports that last year’s turnout was 29% and that would have meant 29 cents off a cuppa.
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski might have come a long way baby as the ONLY Chairwoman of a full committee, but according to Politico…this is probably as far as the GOP will allow her (or any other GOP Congressional women) to ascend.
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  • The Peninsula Clarion covered the latest Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly Seat 1 candidate debate between incumbent Kelly Wolf, Gary Knopp, Robin Davis, and David Wartinbee.

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Alaska News Roundup for September 28

  • In news that has stunned Alaskan political wonks, popular and beloved Northwest Arctic Borough Mayor Reggie Joule (and former legislator) has dropped out of his re-election race citing political fatigue, per the Arctic Sounder.
  • This week on THE HILL, it will be all about preventing a federal shutdown, dealing with more Iranian Nuclear Accord grandstanding, and passing the mondo spending bill.
  • There’s a new electrical bigwig in the Valley! His name is Michael Burke and he is the new Matanuska Telephone Association The Frontiersman has the skills and Burke’s Curriculum Vitae.
CEO

Photo Credit of MTA

 

  • Homer’s City Council candidates got a chance to distance themselves from their challenger by explaining to a packed Homer Public Library their stances on the budget, commercial cannabis, and much more. My little bird told me that candidate Donna Aderhold was the star of the evening with her “impressive knowledge about Homer and ease with the questions.”
  • Today will see an interesting meeting down at the Anchorage LIO where the 14-member Legislative Council will meet to determine if they are going to squander spend $450,000 to further their lawsuit against Gov. Bill Walker’s move to expand Medicaid.
  • Kind of like Crocs with Socks (yes, I’m looking at you Mr. Speaker), Alaska’s oil response plan is outdated and out of fashion. So, the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation will be joining up with the US Coast Guard to bring the preparedness and response plan up to spec, per the Nome Nugget.
Socks

Photo Credit of Nathaniel Herz/Added “Funnies” Credit of Inside Alaska Politics

  • The Seward City News Kenai Peninsula Borough’s District 6 candidates: Kenn Carpenter and Brandii Holmdahl’s answers to the Senior Citizen Survey.
  • One of my little birds caught this article about Pebble Mine and how awesome Alaska Wild Salmon is in their local-wicked local news outlets.
  • Americans want more transparency in corporate political donations. That’s the takeaway from the recent Public Policy Polling poll on campaign finance with the big surprise on reforming the Federal Election Commission.

    2016

    Image Credit of Public Policy Polling

  • In ouchie news: ExxonMobil’s CEO had terse words for Gov. Bill Walker in Oil Price in light of Special Session 3.0, “Alaska is their own worst enemy.”
  • Shell’s announcement that they are quitting Alaska’s offshore drilling was the Internet equivalent to a shot across the bow. Everybody (even all the way over in the UK) is reporting on this especially after the international headlines about the Paddle in Seattle and Obama’s high-profile trip to the Last Frontier.
  • Dept. of Labor Comm. Heidi Drygas landed Alaska a $2.5 million grant to help 600 disabled Alaskan youth find employment. Alaska was one of six to win the coveted grant.
  • Despite the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly’s best efforts, the Juneau Empire thinks that a tax-free condo association fees just aren’t in the cards.
  • Get your popcorn ready because the Fairbanks News Miner’s Jeff Richardson paints a masterpiece of two diametrically different Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly Seat A candidates Dennis Alexander and Incumbent Van Lawrence.
  • Wired has the skinny on a new support group that is launching an ad campaign geared toward helping surveillance agents (NSA and GCHQ in Gt. Britain) reconsider what they are doing and quit their jobs.

    help group

    Image Credit of Intelexit

  • Soldotna is all about transparency and the Soldotna City Council got really, really happy about City Manager Mark Dixson’s plans to improve the city’s record keeping policies and procedures. The Peninsula Clarion explains the changes from the informal to the newly instituted formal rules.
  • Quinnipiac University just released their poll that found 69% of those polled DO NOT want to see the federal government shutdown over the issue of funding Planned Parenthood. Stricter Gun Control is still closely divided at 45 support/48 oppose.

    planned parenthood

    Image Credit of Quinnipiac University

  • Live in Juneau and have an idea of how to save the state from our fiscal crisis? Well, then head on over to the Juneau Forum on Alaska’s Fiscal Future on Wednesday. The Juneau Empire has the details.
  • Mark your calendars for October 1 at 7:00pm for the Unalaska City Hall Candidates Forum on KUCB. Want your questions asked? Submit them to candidates@kucb.org.
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Alaska News Roundup for September 25

  • We are officially going into Special Session 3.0! This surprised the Alaska House Majority, made the Senate Minority giddy as it’s being held in Juneau, and created concern within the Senate Majority. As for the House Minority…crickets.

 

  • The “Big Three” LNG Project producers have reached an agreement with the State of Alaska on property taxes. They will be paying the state $16.5 billion (yes, with a “B”) with $15.7 billion going toward PILT payments in lieu of technical taxes. The Peninsula Clarion has the details.
  • The state’s review of the LNG deal structure has found “serious challenges” to ensure maximum benefit to Alaskans. The 11-page report is well-written and worth a read, but so to is the amazing job by the Dispatch’s Alex DeMarban in explaining the information in laymen’s details.lng

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Alaska News Roundup for September 24

  • The ire over Sen. Lesil McGuire’s (R-Anchorage) $6,500 Seattle Conference hotel bills is growing to such an extent that the former Lt. Governor candidate has revoked her staff’s ability to sign the senator’s name in future and have been verbally flogged via the Dispatch. Her staffers have personally repaid the state for their $450-a-night hotel stay. This issue is sure to come up on an increasing basis during her highly contentious 2016 primary battle.

 Still a catchy tune

 

  • The Mexican Consulate, currently located in downtown Anchorage, might be leaving the state completely-but not without a fight from a quickly formed group that is urgently advocating to keep their doors open past November 1st. KTVA reports that so far 900 people have been signed to their petition and that the consulate’s closure will affect the 4,000+ Mexicans residing in Alaska.
  • Sen. Anna MacKinnon (R-Eagle River) shared the news that the Senate Majority was pleased with the message Gov. Bill Walker had about the PFD and the current fiscal situation the state faces.
  • The Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly meets tonight to discuss the proposed commercial cannabis zoning ordinances and regulations. There will also be an opportunity for public testimony and fingers-crossed…a vote! The Fairbanks News Miner has the skinny on what Assemblymen Lance “Straight Shooter” Roberts, John Davies, Van Lawrence, and the ever-eloquent Assemblywoman Diane Hutchison are looking for in the ordinances. It promises to be an interesting hearing.

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Alaska News Roundup for September 23

  • In oh, that’s wicked embarrassing news: Mat-Su Borough Assembly District 7 candidates Randall Kowalke and Doyle Holmes dirty laundry has been aired out by the Frontiersman. Turns out that a landlord-tenant dispute over a bad toilet, arsenic levels and claims of mismanagement devolved into “accusations over mental illness, sexual deviancy and damages totaling $420,000.” Then there came the slander suit. Get your popcorn ready for this juicy story. 
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s staff wants to make one thing clear: SHE DID NOT DUCK THE ABORTION VOTE. She just missed the highly contentious lose/lose vote due to prior Yom Kippur plans. Sen. Murkowski is Roman Catholic.
  • It’s official! If you are on a Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly service area board, what little power you had is no more and you’ve been relegated to simply “advise.”

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Alaska News Roundup for September 21

  • This week on The Hill, it will be all about the Pope Francis love fest. The Senate will be taking up a ban on 20+ week abortion bill and the defunding of Planned Parenthood (which is expected to fail).
  • Hold the presses; Governor Bill Walker and First Lady Donna Walker met with Ambassador Caroline Kennedy while making inroads with potential Japanese LNG buyers!!

    Kennedy & Walkers

    Photo Credit of Gov. Bill Walker’s FB

  • Taxes is not a “four-letter word” in Seward. That was the takeaway of the Seward City News after attending the 20+ public discussion about Alaska’s fiscial situation and potential remedies including bills proposed by Rep. Paul Seaton (R-Homer), Rep. Les Gara (D-Anchorage), and Sen. Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage). One of my little birds noticed Sue McClure’s absence from “her kind of meeting.”
  • In potentially clap-worthy news: Southeast’s <3 for their ferries is legendary. Their Canadian neighbors feel the same. So much love for this mode of transportation has created an opportunity for Canadian based West Coast Launch to potentially begin once-a-week ferry runs in the winter and twice-a-week in the summer from Prince Rupert, British Columbia to Ketchikan beginning in the summer of 2016.

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Alaska News Roundup for September 18

  • It’s here! The latest in the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly news by the one and only Sue McClure!
  • Rep. Don Young will be among many high-level guests attending the Wolf Trap Ball this Saturday where the basic (i.e. the paupers’) ticket price begins at $750 all the way up to $50K for table sponsorship. This year’s theme tips their hat to ancient Rome in honor of the host: Italian Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero. And yes…there will be a conga line.Conga Line

 

  • Governor Bill Walker might not officially announce our PFD amount till Monday, but the New York Times kind of beat him to the punch with the announcement of record payments of more than $2,000 per recipient.
  • Former Sen. Mark Begich is moving on up to Hilltop Public Solutions as their new advisor in cultivating strategic partnerships within Alaska power networks and increase their
  • Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott’s might have been tirelessly working on getting federal-level assistance with the transboundary mine conflict, but as KCAW reports, the International Joint Commission will not be taking up the issue. This comes shortly after Secretary of State John Kerry declined a meeting with Mallott while he was visiting Alaska.
  • Despite the White House coming out against the 40+ year-old ban on oil exports, The Washington Post thinks the odds are looking more and more promising for Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s pet project by explaining what the average American needs to know how this would impact our economy.

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Alaska News Roundup for September 16

  • Today is THE DAY for oral arguments between the Ketchikan Gateway Borough and the state over the constitutionality of municipalities being forced to pay toward their local public schools’ costs.
  • Hilcorp wants to lay pipe. Ok, more like they have asked DNR for permits to drill exploratory wells near Ninilchik, but my interpretation of the Fairbanks News Miner story is way funnier.
  • In good news/bad news: The good news is that the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on the state’s justice system last Tuesday (yay!). The bad news is that the Pew Charitable Trust’s presentation during the hearing pointed to incarceration lengths as the reason for the state’s prison population explosion and not due to an increase in individual inmates, per APRN.

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Alaska News Roundup for August 15

  • Campaign contributions just got a whole lot easier thanks to a joint venture between Twitter and Square, per Wired. So, how do 2016 candidates get in on some of this hot 21st century style dialing-for-dollars action? First set-up a Square Cash account, then once you have your all-mighty ‘CONTRIBUTE” BUTTON, tweet away (on an APOC appropriate account…of course).Twitter

 

  • The Southeast Conference, the mondo economic forum that is held every five years, is starting today in beautiful British Columbia where the highly anticipated Preparing for 2020 development plan will be unveiled. Can’t attend? No worries, they have a newsletter!
  • Get out your credit cards and ready a fruit basket to the new media players in the state as the Fairbanks News Miner reports that Alaska’s #1 news station (KTUU) and assorted Schurz Communication Inc.’s radio stations have been purchased by Gray Television, which is based in Atlanta. The cost of this Alaska market share giant? $442.5 million.
  • The Alaska Gasline Development Corporation board is FINALLY completely filled. The lucky/unlucky person to round out the seven seat board is Eagle River’s own Joey Merrick II. To wit Sen. Cathy Giessel (R-Anchorage) sang Gov. Bill Walker’s praises on his “outstanding” choice.

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Alaska News Roundup for September 14

  • Grab your red bull and comfy chair because this week on THE HILL is going to be long and full of potential fireworks! The Hill explains that congress will be all about Planned Parenthood funding, the Iranian Nuclear Accord and monetary sanctions on frivolous
  • The Juneau Empire flexed their eloquence muscle in their latest editorial over the September 5th City and Borough of Juneau Assembly closed doors meeting over the fireweed field zoning issue. Their fury and contempt definitely make this worth a read!
  • In wicked awesome news: the USDA has approved grant money (Nunam Iqua, $112,800, Eek, $4.38 million; Kwethluk, $2.21 million and Akiachak, $6.38 million) for Y-K villages to improve rural water systems with not just pre-existing facilities, but training, technical assistance and development of future ones as well, per the Tundra Drums.

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Alaska News Roundup for September 11

 

  • The Fairbanks News Miner sheds some interesting light on the Denali Borough as the home to the state’s oldest population with 1/3 of the population ranging from 50-69 years old compared to just 9% of the state’s entire population.
  • Another OUTSIDE law firm will be receiving money from the legislature, this time at a cap of $350,000 to study Medicaid expansion and reform. The Dispatch reports that the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee has hired Virginia-based The Menges Group.
  • The Alaska Republican Party’s Vice Chair, Frank McQueary, wrote an op-ed in The Hill where he explains what Obama missed during his trip to the Last Frontier.

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Alaska News Roundup for September 10

  • Congratulations to Nathan Wallace on his appointment by the Palmer City Council as their new City Manager! The Frontiersman attended the public Meet & Greet and painted a pleasant picture of the evening and camaraderie between Wallace and council members.

    Nathan Wallace

    Photo Credit of the Frontiersman

  • Don’t get too excited about the mondo money heading into the state coffers from the LNG pipeline so sayeth the State Legislative Joint Resources committee via KTVA. While the Peninsula Clarion explains that the reason for the delay is to give the stakeholders (i.e. Alaskans) a better investment by reformulating the pipe diameter and also paying a whopping $100,000 a month to an OUTSIDE consultancy.
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski is getting major props for her work on two pieces of legislation. One bill permanently reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the other concerns the Voting Rights Act Restoration.

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Alaska News Roundup for September 9

  • Rep. Mike Chenault (R-Nikiski), Sen. Kevin Meyer (R-Anchorage), Sen. Anna MacKinnon (R-Eagle River), Rep. Mark Neuman (R-Big Lake), and Rep. Steve Thompson (R-Fairbanks) think there are simply too many Alaskans in prison and have started proposing changes to the state justice system in order to see at least a 25% decrease in incarcerations.
  • Here they come to save the day! The State of Alaska has agreed to wire part of Cook Inlet Energy LLC’s tax credit payment to the tune of $6.4 million early so the energy producer doesn’t go into bankruptcy, per the Peninsula Clarion.
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  • FINALLY!! The state ferry system has something to celebrate (happy dance time). APRN reports that the LeConte ferry not only saved six men after their skiff overturned in the choppy waters off Rocky Island, but this bit of derring-do didn’t even alter the ferry’s expected arrival time too much. 
  • Rep. Scott Kawasaki (D-Fairbanks) wants the governor to investigate the curious situation where when “oil prices go up the price for gas also goes up but when oil prices fall we don’t see that same decrease in gas prices.”
  • Have no fear Rep. Kawasaki because the Dispatch reveals that Alaska’s oil and gas system is already on the governor’s mind with plans to reduce the state’s gas tax credit program following Sen. Cathy Giessel’s (R-Anchorage) special legislative hearing on the very issue.

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Alaska News Roundup for September 8

  • Bishop’s Beach was once again the star of the evening at the last Homer City Council meeting where dozens of residents gave testimony on the restricting access issue. The Homer Tribune has a juicy retelling of the meeting and several choice quotes from the evening.
  • Sen. Dan Sullivan poked Texas’ senators where it hurts most: by pointing out how they are lacking in size.Sullivan

 

  • There is (finally) a simple list of do’s and don’ts for commercial cannabis businesses to follow and simultaneously act as a guide for law enforcement. The Juneau Empire details the Pot Board’s new naughty and nice list. Don’t expect pot shops to be giving out “gifts” i.e. samples because that is now a BIG no-no.

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