Category Archives: Bethel

Alaska News Roundup for November 5

  • The brewing battle over Bethel’s liquor store permit has yet to be resolved and the contentious issue is spilling over into other matters before the Bethel City Council including conflict of interest vote by Councilwoman Nikki Hoffman. The Dispatch has the popcorn worthy details of the hearing.
  • The full text of the TPP trade deal has been released (thanks New Zealand government) to both horror and applause. Wired points out that Congress will be voting a straight-up “yea” or “nay” in 2016 as there is VERY little wiggle room on altering the multi-nation agreement.
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski is quite chummy with her House Energy Committee Chair cohort by joining forces (and donor lists) to form a joint fundraising committee that will allow them to raise a lot of $, but only have to divvy up the funds between themselves. International Business Times has the details of the ramifications of this Washingtonesque Friends with Benefits.

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Alaska News Roundup for October 26

  • This week on Capital Hill, expect more drama than an Italian opera…so sayeth The Hill. The House is expecting to officially decide on their new Speaker (i.e. Rep. Paul Ryan), deal with the November 3 debt limit deadline, add an additional financial Band-Aid to Highway funding, reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, and…FINISH THE CYBERSECURITY INFORMATION SHARING ACT (CISA) on Tuesday. Here is why you should be interested if you use Apple, Twitter, Facebook, and Google and why the digital security field is not amused with FB.
  • Congratulations to Tom Begich (now also known as the luckiest man in Alaska) on his betrothal to the always-engaging Sarah Sledge. One of my little birds told me that it was a quiet affair with only a few select friends and family in Anchorage.
  • It seems that not all is honkey-dory down in Bethel regarding the ABC board’s licensing of Bethel Spirits issue. The Tundra Drums reports that the October 22 meeting was hastily withdrawn and set for a yet to be determined date. The official reason given was that “necessary entities” were not given the obligatory 20 days notice. My little bird told me that there is MUCH more going on behind closed doors and this is expected to turn into a “big deal.”

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Alaska News Roundup for October 7

  • The fiscal pinch your wallet’s been feeling is indeed real. The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development conducted a study on median incomes and discovered that Alaskans are making $4,000 less than they did in 1989. It gets worse as the YWCA Alaska explained in an interview with KTUU, 60% of low wage earners are women and of Alaskan families they make up 40% of the primary providers.
  • The Seward City News has the breakdown of the Seward/Lowell Point voting results. The Seward City Mayoral election went to Jean Bardarson and the three Seward City Council seats went to Sue McClure (!), David Squires, and Deborah Altermatt.
  • Alaska Supreme Court Justice Dana Fabe is retiring next summer. Justice Fabe was the first female Chief Justice and has served the state since 1996. Her wisdom and devotion to our state will be a loss to our justice system.giphy

 

  • In the Mat-Su, the results in the borough’s mayoral race are considered to be too close to call. Right now, Vern Halter is winning by 4,269 votes with incumbent Mayor Larry DeVilbiss accruing 4,090 votes. Rosemary Vavrin has 317. The Frontiersman reports that there are still 2,000+/- absentee, questioned and special needs votes to count.
  • Rep. Scott Kawasaki (D-Fairbanks) showed his support for now Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor-elect Karl Kassel in an Instagram. The Fairbanks News Miner reports that Kassel won with 57% of the votes.kawasaki

 

  • Juneau saw a major upset in their political status quo last night, as Mayor Merrill Sanford was beat by challenger Greg Fisk with a 66% Ouchie. True to both men’s diplomatic reputation, they shook hands after their race was called.

    outgoing

    Photo Credit of the Juneau Empire

  • Fairbanks was full of voting fervor with the slightly contentious item of a 5% commercial pot sales tax being approved by a whopping 84% and the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly saw all three incumbents winning their reelection bids. Congrats Lance Roberts, Kathryn Dodge, and Van Lawrence!
  • The Kenai Borough Assembly races were won by Gary Knop (District 1), Brandii Holmdahl will replace term-limited Sue McClure’s seat for District 6, and Willy Dunne for District 9.
  • Nikiski was not having any of the law enforcement service area idea with a wide margin of rejection (541 against to 399 for), per the Peninsula Clarion.
  • KNOB reports that Nome will be getting a new mayor in Richard Beneville.
  • Bethel is ok (sort-of) with having a liquor store (57% yea votes), but was adamantly against having a bar (61% no votes). Over in the Assembly side of life, Mayor Rick Robb won re-election, as did Leif Albertson. They are joined by political newbies Nikki Hoffman and Alison Welch.
  • Over in Soldotna, the grocery tax initiative passed with flying colors and the Soldotna City Council got back incumbent Paul Whitney (331 votes to Fred Sturman’s 218), while many feel the race between Linda Murphy (265 votes) and Dan Nelson (254) are too close to call.
  • The Wall Street Journal explains what the commissioned independent report on the relationship between the EPA and the anti-Pebble Mine groups means to the pending court case on this issue as well as what to expect going forward.
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski is not amused with the changes the US Forest Service has made to the dock project at the Anan Wildlife Observatory near Wrangell and Ketchikan. KSTK explains the changes and why this once popular project has quickly lost its allure.
  • In when will the hit stop coming news: The Juneau Empire reports that the state will further cut the ferry schedule down by 32% or more specifically…four docked ferries.
  • In light of the fiscal crisis Alaska is facing, many legislators are calling for more budgetary cuts and setting the stage for a massive showdown for the upcoming regular Session. The Dispatch has the details on what they want to cut.
  • Over on Capital Hill, Senate Democrats are vowing to keep Net Neutrality waivers out of the federal government-funding bill that MUST BE PASSED by December 11, per The Hill.
  • A sure sign that 2016 will be unlike any previous presidential race, Gallup is pulling themselves from the presidential polling game and instead will be focusing their resources on better understanding how Americans feel about issues.
  • Here are some pictures of voter turnout from across the state:
    matsu

    Photo Credit of Rep. Shelley Hughes (R-Palmer)

    voting

    Photo Credit of the Fairbanks News Miner

    sitka

    Photo Credit of Sitka Sentinel

    nome

    Photo Credit of KNOM

 

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Alaska News Roundup for July 24

  • The Bethel City Council is not taking the ABC’s decision to reject their protest of a liquor license lying down! Since under state law, the ABC board MUST accept local government’s protest unless the protest is based on “arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable”…and Bethel City Council doesn’t view their reasons to be arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable. My little bird’s choice of words on this issue was a bit less diplomatic and more, er, colorful.
  • Rep. Don Young made a mistake. A very public, official, no-takesies back mistake by voting to allow voluntary GMO labeling of foods instead of against the bill…which was how he had planned…thus helping to pass the bill.

    Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 10.29.44 AM

    Info Credit of Open Congress

  • Nathaniel Herz of the Dispatch has the skinny on the unfolding drama surrounding North Slope Borough’s mayor and her alleged misuse of taxpayers’ funds. So far, he’s uncovered $8,400 in flying five of her grandchildren to a camp in CA and more than $500 a piece for cakes made by her daughters over the span of several years. There’s more, lots more.
  • Homer residents are being asked to take an online poll concerning city services. The Homer Tribune reports the Homer City Council and City Manager will use the results to reevaluate city funding and programs.
  • It’s happening!! Sen. Lisa Murkowski held a presser on her energy package and The Hill confirms that the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (which she chairs) will not only hear her bills, but will vote on them before the August 7 recess begins.

    Murkowski

    Photo Credit of Senate Energy GOP Twitter Feed

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Alaska News Roundup for May 12

  • Shell has been given conditional approval (i.e. a green light) to drill up to six wells near the Burger Prospect in Alaska’s Arctic offshore area, per NPR.

    Burger

    Photo Credit of This Small Planet

  • The House and Senate minorities intend to hold their own set of public hearings on budget issues, Medicaid expansion and Erin’s Law. APRN explains why.
  • An update on Interior Energy Project is tonight at 6:00pm at Pioneer Park in Fairbanks.   For those unable to attend, the Fairbanks News Miner has the gist of what is expected to be reported.
  • The federal Government Accountability Office has released its first-in-depth report on “landscape-scale” forest restoration. Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) requested the study to determine if restoration efforts were in fact efficient and cost-effective. The GAO discovered that while the system in place isn’t perfect, the economic and environmental positives largely outweigh the negatives.

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Alaska News Roundup April 30

  • Put down the coffee. Step away from anything pointy or sharp because the Kodiak Daily Mirror reports that the U.S. Navy is planning to use naval shells, sonar, and LIVE BOMBS as part of their military training actives near Kodiak Island. Naturally the Sun’aq Tribe is alarmed. HERE is a link to federal and state representative contact details. map

 

  • Matt Buxton with the Fairbanks News Miner has the details on Gov. Bill Walker’s logical reasons for keeping the legislature in Juneau until the budget is passed.
  • Don’t sweat if you missed KSKM and KSKA’s Anchorage Mayoral Run-off debate, Running, Wednesday night. Here is the debate in all its glory. Check out the Political Calendar for upcoming debate information.Running

 

  • Alaska’s oil wonks should read Politico’s background story of Saudi Arabia’s new King Mohammed bin Salman and why he is throwing the U.S. government for a loop as our diplomats are signaling the inability to comfortably predict a continual favorable relationship with the oil rich country.

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Alaska News Roundup for April 14

  • Having your name associated with Cosmo hasn’t been the same since former Sen. Scott Brown, but could soon be changing with this great article that celebrates the unsung achievements of women in the U.S. Senate. Sen. Lisa Murkowski was highlighted as an example of a figurative bridge building legislator.
  • Becky Bohrer with the AP sat down with Gov. Bill Walker to discuss Medicaid. In short, Gov. Walker is sticking to his guns with no Medicaid reform without expansion. He doesn’t have that much of a hard sell to Alaskans with his ever-growing list of backers as proof of statewide support.
  • In a move taken straight from the Loretta Lynch nomination hold-up playbook, the Alaska GOP state legislative leaders are prepared to withhold confirmation hearings on Gov. Bill Walker’s political appointees because of Medicaid Expansion.
  • Rep. Lora Reinbold’s (R-Eagle River) recent email regarding Medicaid expansion call-in testimony details has raised the hackles of NAACP’s vice president Kevin McGee by including ““We are trying not to get the number out to the pro expansion for they are much more organized,” in the missive. APRN has the brewing scandal for the caucus-less representative.
  • The Hill was on hand to capture Rep. Don Young tapping his inner Shakespearean dramatic flair while urging colleagues to approve a resolution to back the stationing of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters in Alaska by saying, “He who holds Alaska holds the world.”

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