Alaska News Roundup for December 2

  • If you’ve bought your little ones a VTech electronic “learning” toy in the past few years AND utilized their “Learning Lodge” app store database to store all of your kiddo’s creations…congratulations because you’re probably amongst the 5 million people who’s customer accounts got hacked. So along with any stored names, email addresses, encrypted passwords, security questions, answers, IP addresses, mailing addresses, and download history…your kids’ photos could now be added to the Internet’s child pornography racket.
  • Rep. Dan Ortiz (I-Ketchikan) appears to have a bit of bad news: he now officially has a contender for his reelection next November in Ketchikan Assemblyman Bob Sivertsen.   Sivertsen had filed a Letter of Intent back in August, but filed the official “I’m bonafide” paperwork on Monday of this week. Interesting to note is that his Deputy treasurers are fellow Assemblypersons (and local rainmakers) Dick Coose and Judy Zenge.Sivertsen

 

  • The Oil Tax Credit Working Group’s report is out and Sen. Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage) is diplomatically not amused.

  • Anchorage Assemblyman Bill Evans is planning on shaking things up with muni taxes. The Dispatch reports that not only is Evans attempting to repeal a recent property tax change that allowed the muni to increase its revenue by an additional $1 million, BUT ALSO create a sales tax.
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski should be proud of the compromise she help negotiate amongst the joint Senate and House emergency transportation committee to get a fully funded transportation bill before Pres. Obama. Reuters is slyly giving her much deserved credit for lowering the amount of SPR oil fields.
  • The Kasilof community is not amused over the proposed parking lot at the mouth of the Kasilof River and the number of organized voices has increased to the point that the Peninsula Clarion has an in-depth article about this growing issue.
  • US unemployment has once again fallen for the 5th straight month to 5.0, a metric not seen since 2005 with Alaska seeing a gain of 2,500+- jobs since May.Unemployment

 

  • The Mat-Su Borough has reached a settlement with nine emergency responders over retirement benefits from PERS to the tune of $160,311 plus attorney fees. The Frontiersman reveals that all sides are satisfied with the agreement.
  • The Juneau Empire has the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly’s statement about the sudden death of Mayor Greg Fisk.
  • If you want to own a cannabis business within the State of Alaska, you will also have to be eligible for the PFD as the Fairbanks News Miner reports that the residency requirements adopted by the State Pot Board were lifted from the Permanent Fund’s policies. This is an attempt to prevent Big Marijuana, but still has to be approved by the AK Department of Law.
  • The Dispatch’s Yereth Rosen has beautifully explained the complex problems of Alaska offshore drilling, why Lisa Murkowski is calling for flexibility for these producers and where the producers are standing on future Arctic exploration.
  • Rep. Don Young is already working on the 38+ amendments along with his fellow Congressmen for the Energy Bill, per Politico.
  • The Sitka Assembly has made a massive step toward providing affordable housing for their constituents and KCAW has the details.
  • Norway’s Ambassador to the US tweeted a shout out to Sen. Lisa Murkowski for being the master of ceremonies at the Alaska State Tree Lighting Ceremony.tree lighting

 

  • In where have you been all my life news: Sen. Gary Stevens (R-Kodiak) has newsletters that are actually funny, straightforward and worth reading!
  • Sen. Peter Micciche (R-Soldotna) has a Town Hall meeting tonight from 6:30-8:30pm at the Kenai Peninsula College in Soldotna. Plus, one of my little birds tells me that special cookies (nope, not those kind of “special” cookies) will be served.
  • The City and Borough of Juneau Assembly are in the process of accepting applications for 2016’s head-tax funded projects until the end of December. Interested parties should contact the city manager’s office (Phillips@juneau.org).
  • Popular conservative talk radio personality Bernadette Wilson (and previous co-host to current liberal Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz) has made the news by starting a ballot measure referendum to repeal the recently passed anti-discrimination ordinance. If 5,754 voter signatures are collected by January 11, 2016, then this will be put before the voters on the Anchorage Bowl’s ballot in April.
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